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Warren receives endorsement of Working Families Party; draws 20K at New York rally

September 18, 2019

The Working Families Party, a grassroots progressive group with origins in organized labor, announced on September 16 that it is endorsing the presidential bid of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), The Huffington Post reported.

 “Senator Warren strikes fear into the hearts of the robber barons who rigged the system, and offers hope to millions of working people who have been shut out of our democracy and economy,” Maurice Mitchell, Working Families Party national director, said in a statement. “Our job now is to help Senator Warren build the mass movement that will make her transformational plans a reality.”

As part of the group’s endorsement process, Mitchell grilled five presidential candidates ― Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), former Housing Secretary Julián Castro (D-Texas) and New York City’s Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio―on live broadcasts that gave members the opportunity to submit questions or ask them in person.

The organization gave Warren about 61% of its vote for endorsement, with about 36% going to Sanders (who got the endorsement in the last presidential election). More than 80% of voters listed Warren and Sanders as their two top picks. Warren distinguished herself in her interview by, among other things, promising to repeal the 1994 crime bill authored by Biden.

The group’s interview with Booker proved more contentious, the HuffPost reported—with an extended discussion of his ties to controversial Garden State political bosses. Senator Kamala Harris of California canceled her interview with the organization, citing a scheduling conflict—a decision that prompted the group to take her out of the running.

Mitchell acknowledged Sanders’ role as a progressive trailblazer in his statement on the endorsement. “Senator Warren and Senator Sanders have both shaped the ideological terrain on which this campaign is being waged,” Mitchell said. “They have proven an effective team on debate stages and in the polls, and we hope that partnership continues. We’re proud to call both of them allies in the fight for a more just America.”

The endorsement nonetheless drew skepticism from Sanders supporters, some of whom questioned the legitimacy of the endorsement process and talked of canceling their dues to the organization. 

 “We knew that this would be a hard vote and that there would be folks who would be very disappointed. And that’s what happens when mature political organizations wrestle around really important decisions,” Mitchell told the HuffPost. ”We’re going to continue to organize and keep our eyes on the prize.”

The endorsement from a powerhouse of New York politics came ahead of a rally Warren held—in front of more than 20,000 fans—in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park on Monday evening. At the rally, the senator praised women’s trade unions and focused on her plans to tackle government corruption.

Research contact: @HuffPost