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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to campaign in Tucson


Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders will take the stump Friday at Reid Park. The event starts at 7 p.m., but gates to the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center will open at 6 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In a press release Friday, Sanders’ campaign announced that his speech will cover issues including high-cost prescription drugs, wealth inequality and Sanders’ college affordability plan.

Sanders is the first 2016 presidential candidate to visit Tucson since the campaign started, other than Ben Carson, who lunched in Tucson in mid-August.

“It’s not every day a presidential candidate comes to Arizona, much less Tucson,” said Joseline Mata, the president of UA Young Democrats. According to Mata, many Young Democrats will be in attendance Friday, including the statewide president.

Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, has been gaining momentum since the summer — just when Hillary Clinton’s numbers began falling. A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken Sept. 20-24 revealed that 42 percent of Democratic primary voters favor Clinton, while 35 percent now favor Sanders. Sanders is up 10 percentage points from July.

In the past, presidential candidates running grassroots campaigns have found a strong support base in Tucson. Sanders is aiming to make an impression on UA students and voters with young children who will find his college tuition plan attractive. In May, Sanders introduced his “College for All Act” to Congress. If passed, the bill would eliminate the undergraduate tuitions at all four-year public colleges and universities.

Mata believes Sanders’ message will definitely resonate with Tucson because of its large progressive base.

“Tucson is an island of blue in a sea of red that is Arizona,” Mata said.

Ashlee Bierworth, a junior studying political science and law and the president of UA College Republicans, said her group had no formal plans to attend.

“I do not support Sanders’ unsustainable spending programs,” Bierworth said.

Political affiliations aside, progressive Bernie Sanders is expected to draw a large crowd. This past Saturday saw him speak to a crowd of 20,000 in Boston, and Tucson’s Parks and Recreation Department said it will block off an area to accommodate 5,000 people Friday.

Follow Michelle Jaquette on Twitter.

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