- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The Washington state delegates to the Democratic National Convention got a breakfast visit from former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Wednesday.

In a short speech, the Vermont senator urged them to work hard to beat Republican Donald Trump in November.

Sanders’ comments were well-received by the Washington delegation, which is heavily made up of Sanders supporters after he easily won the state Democratic caucuses in March.

“I thought it was right on target, really focused and motivating to go back home and bring his goals to our local level,” said Jim CastroLang, a Sanders delegate who is also chairman of the Spokane County Democrats.

CastroLang said he will be voting for Hillary Clinton for president, although a bit reluctantly.

“I probably believe Hillary Clinton will incrementally move us in progressive directions, but not as far as Bernie would have done,” CastroLang said in a telephone interview from Philadelphia.

“In the environment we are in, she is a serious choice who moves us forwards and not backwards,” he added.

CastroLang said Washington’s delegates for Sanders were having conversations Wednesday on what protests, if any, to take part in.

“There will be some individuals who do some things,” CastroLang said “We will not disrupt what is happening in the hall.”

Sean Comfort, a Sanders delegate from the Spokane area, said Donald Trump’s comments Wednesday regarding Russia and Hillary Clinton’s missing emails were irrelevant. The Republican presidential nominee said that the 30,000 missing emails from Clinton’s private email server would reveal “some beauties” and made an extraordinary plea for a foreign power to locate them.

“We talk about Donald Trump way too much,” Comfort said of Democrats. “To most Republicans, Donald Trump is a joke.”

“It seems like our party has a preoccupation with Donald Trump and that is dangerous,” Comfort said. “It gives him more media attention that he deserves.”

Comfort said Sanders delegates understand there is a big problem with the Democratic National Committee. The solution is to fill empty DNC positions with Sanders supporters, who can fundamentally change the party, Comfort said.

“We are going to take our party back,” Comfort said. “In Washington state, we have already filled many empty positions at the ground level.”

Comfort said he will likely support Hillary Clinton in November.

State Rep. Noel Frame, D-Seattle, a Sanders delegate, said Sanders supporters will continue to focus on the issues he put forward during the campaign.

“Our revolution doesn’t end,” Frame said.

But she will support Hillary Clinton for president in November, Frame said.

Frame added she was appalled by Trump’s comments regarding the Clinton emails.

“Somebody running to be the leader of the free world and encouraging enemies of our state to go after his political opponents is dangerous and not fitting for somebody to be president of the United States,” Frame said.

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