- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - As Oregon’s Democratic and Republican delegations were crisscrossing the country to and from their parties’ national conventions Friday, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine was named as Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential-running mate.

It’s unclear whether the selection of Kaine will appeal to progressives from places like Oregon, which is expected to favor Bernie Sanders on the Democratic convention floor in Philadelphia next week after the Vermont senator defeated Clinton in Oregon’s May 17 primary.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley - who supports Clinton but is the only member the U.S. Senate to endorse their colleague Sanders - told The Associated Press that Kaine is an “excellent choice” but party progressives have concerns about some of his leanings, namely his recent vote in favor of fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

“Tim Kaine is enormously capable … very powerful intellect and very easy to work with,” said Merkley. “But there are issues that we would love to have him be in a different place on.”

Sanders began bowing out of the race weeks ago as his chances slipped and he has since been helping rally more forces against GOP nominee Donald Trump. Both parties are now wrestling to bring Sanders’ progressive supporters into their folds ahead of November.

A similar dynamic is at play in Oregon, often deemed “Bernie Sanders country” by the electorate while its elected politicians lean more with Clinton. It’s why more than half of Oregon’s 61 delegates are pledged to Sanders, who won almost 57 percent of the vote in May, and most of its 13 superdelegates, who can vote however they please and are often high-level politicians, are supporting Clinton.

Merkley, one of those 13 superdelegates, says Sanders’ vision is being “woven” into Clinton’s platform, so progressives will eventually come around.

“The dramatic changes in the platform and in the style of Hillary’s presentation that she’s putting forward are much stronger, bolder strategies to take on the big issues that were at the heart of the Sanders campaign,” Merkley said.


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