WASHINGTON ― Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Tom Perriello for governor of Virginia on Tuesday, calling him a “committed progressive” who will stand up to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party agenda.
“Tom is committed to fighting the rigged economy and income inequality. He was the first major statewide candidate in Virginia to run on a $15 minimum wage and the first to say two years of community college should be tuition-free,” Sanders said in a statement, ticking off Perriello’s campaign platform.
Perriello was elected to Congress in 2008 and was an ally of then-newly elected President Barack Obama. He lost his seat in 2010 amid a GOP resurgence after tough votes on the stimulus package, cap-and-trade legislation and the Affordable Care Act.
“At a time when the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are fighting to destroy the Affordable Care Act, Tom is one who fought hard for its passage when he was a member of Congress. He is a committed progressive who will stand up for working families in Richmond,” Sanders said.
Leading Virginia Democrats, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, have endorsed Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in the race. Perriello has the support of former top aides to Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, including Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Sanders emerged as the leader of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing in the 2016 presidential election. His backing ought to give Perriello a fundraising boost.
The Democratic primary to replace McAuliffe, who is limited to one term under Virginia law, is scheduled to take place on June 13.