- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Sen. Bernard Sanders said he knows and likes billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer, who jumped into the crowded race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, but that he hopes Mr. Steyer isn’t the future of the Democratic Party.

“Well, I surely hope not,” the Vermont independent and 2020 presidential contender said Tuesday evening on CNN.

He called Mr. Steyer a “decent guy” who’s “done a lot of good things.”

“He’s been concerned about the environment; he’s put money into voter registration — all of which I think are positive things,” he said. “But I think … that the American people are sick and tired of seeing the political power of billionaires, whether they are Democrats or whether they are Republicans.”

Mr. Sanders said he’s proud that his campaign has thus far attracted about 2 million individual contributions, with an average donation of about $19.

“The American people are tired of billionaires making huge campaign contributions,” he said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is vying with Mr. Sanders for the progressive mantle among the 2020 Democratic field, brought in $19.1 million for her presidential campaign in the second quarter, eclipsing Mr. Sanders‘ $18 million in contributions.

The Massachusetts Democrat has also been on the rise in some recent polling on the race.

She made an oblique reference to Mr. Steyer’s entering the race on Tuesday, tweeting: “The Democratic primary should not be decided by billionaires, whether they’re funding Super PACs or funding themselves. The strongest Democratic nominee in the general will have a coalition that’s powered by a grassroots movement.”

Mr. Sanders said he’s received more individual contributions than Ms. Warren.

“I’m feeling very good,” he said. “Look, this is a very different political situation than last time around [when] there were two major candidates.”

He predicted that in the end, the candidate who can attract 25% to 30% of the vote will win “state by state.”

“We have [a] very strong grassroots organization; we have over a million volunteers and strong organizations in Iowa, New Hampshire, in South Carolina, Nevada, California,” he said. “So we’re feeling pretty good about where we are right now.”

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