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MoveOn Members Vote Overwhelmingly to Endorse Bernie Sanders in Democratic Primary

Sanders won the group’s endorsement with more than 78% of the vote, shattering MoveOn records with most votes cast and largest margin of victory.

MoveOn will mobilize in support of Sanders with initial focus on turning out 43,000 Iowa and 30,000 New Hampshire MoveOn members—early states where polling shows a neck-and-neck race just weeks out.

*** Read More from MoveOn Executive Director Ilya Sheyman on Medium: http://bit.ly/1ZpVxaU  ***

Members of MoveOn.org Political Action, one of the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots groups, have voted overwhelmingly to endorse Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and join the political revolution backing the Vermont Senator at a crucial juncture in the presidential contest. Sanders gained an overwhelming 78.6 percent of the 340,665 votes cast by MoveOn members.

Fellow Democrats Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley secured 14.6% and 0.9%, respectively, and 5.9% of votes were cast in favor of not endorsing. 340,665 total votes were cast, marking the most of any MoveOn endorsement vote.

“This is a massive vote in favor of Bernie Sanders, showing that grassroots progressives across the country are excited and inspired by his message and track record of standing up to big money and corporate interests to reclaim our democracy for the American people,” said MoveOn.org Political Action Executive Director Ilya Sheyman. “MoveOn members are feeling the Bern. We will mobilize aggressively to add our collective people power to the growing movement behind the Sanders campaign, starting with a focus on voter turnout in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

See a post on Medium from MoveOn’s Sheyman on the vote: http://bit.ly/1ZpVxaU

Sheyman and MoveOn staff will announce the results of the vote in an email to members on Tuesday.

“I’m proud to have MoveOn and its community of millions of members join our people-powered campaign,” Bernie Sanders said. “MoveOn has spent more than 17 years bringing people together to fight for progressive change and stand up against big money interests. MoveOn’s fight to give the American people a voice in our political system was reflected in the group’s internal democratic process. I’m humbled by their support and welcome MoveOn’s members to the political revolution.”

In the decisive weeks leading up to the first votes of this presidential campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, MoveOn is poised to mobilize thousands of volunteers, make thousands of phone calls to potential voters, and recruit more small-dollar donors to support Sanders. MoveOn’s first priority will be turning out its 43,000 members in Iowa and 30,000 members in New Hampshire—the first caucus and primary states, where polling shows the candidates running neck-and-neck.

“MoveOn members’ endorsement of Bernie Sanders is a natural progression from the Run Warren Run campaign and so much of the work MoveOn members have done in recent years to elevate issues of economic and other forms of inequality,” Sheyman said. “We’re ready to fight alongside Bernie Sanders and other progressive populists to take on Wall Street and corporate special interests to make sure our economy and our country work for everyone.”

Here’s what some MoveOn members had to say in voting to endorse Sanders:

“His refusal to accept the status quo of the wealthiest Americans using their power to influence politicians matters to me. If we’re going to push back against the rising oligarchy in our country, we need people like Bernie Sanders representing us in government.” – Matt R., Reston, VA

“In a nutshell, he exemplifies the ‘We the People’ style of democracy I believe in. He has stood by and with the people, supporting women, people of color, LGBTQ, seniors, and the poor against those who look to subjugate these historically oppressed groups for profit.” – Natalie R., Claremont, CA

“He represents integrity. He was also right about Iraq and I prefer his stance on foreign policy. I feel that he is concerned with getting our country on track and not getting us in more wars.” – Janekee C., Davenport, FL

“I voted for MoveOn.org to endorse Bernie Sanders for president because he represents the progressive movement like this organization. His views align perfectly with my own—wealth inequality, a living wage, job creation, Wall Street reform, racial justice, women’s and LBGT rights, college without debt, climate change, and peaceful solutions to prevent war, such as his support for the Iran deal.” – Terri D., Brookfield, WI

The presidential primary endorsement is just the second in the 17-year history of the group, which has a track record of using people power to help win progress on progressive priorities and to help endorsed candidates at all levels win elections.

In 2004, MoveOn declined to endorse any Democratic candidate for president during the primaries after a vote of the membership showed Howard Dean leading with 44 percent, but no candidate meeting the endorsement threshold. In 2008, shortly before the Super Tuesday primaries, MoveOn members endorsed Barack Obama with a vote of 70 percent and then raised funds and mobilized volunteers to support him. In 2012, members voted to endorse Obama in his re-election bid.

The endorsement builds on the work done through the Run Warren Run campaign, a joint effort by MoveOn and Democracy for America that was suspended in June of 2015. That effort engaged more than 365,000 supporters, and included offices and paid staff in Iowa and New Hampshire, hundreds of on-the-ground events, and major endorsements from dozens of elected officials, celebrities, and media outlets.

MoveOn has committed to running a purely positive campaign in support of Sanders. After the Democratic National Convention this summer, MoveOn will work to unite progressives around widely popular progressive priorities to help the eventual Democratic nominee keep a Republican out of the White House.

MoveOn.org Political Action represents the collective will of MoveOn’s members at the ballot box by helping to elect progressive candidates.