House Democrats facing tough reelection battles this fall are growing concerned about the early presidential primary success of socialist Bernie Sanders, fearing it could imperil their chances.
The Vermont senator, 78, narrowly won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, on the heels of a close second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, a result his campaign disputes due to protracted vote-counting problems. At the same time, 29 House Democrats are seeking another term in districts President Trump won in 2016.
Sanders’s advocacy of far-left causes, including “Medicare for all” and what he calls free college, may not play well in dozens of swing districts, particularly his ready admission that he’s not a capitalist.
“I have respect for Senator Sanders, and I believe that he could probably win the popular vote. But do I think that he would win the five or six states that matter in this election and, certainly, keeping the districts that we fought so hard to win for the first time in generations, in some cases?” said Rep. Dean Phillips, a first-term Minnesota Democrat and supporter of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s presidential bid.