Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders campaigned this weekend with fourth district congressional candidate J.D. Scholten, with stops in Ames and Fort Dodge on Sunday.
“This, in fact, is the most important midterm election in the history of the United States of America,” Sanders said in Ames.
Over the past 15 months, Scholten has raised more than twice as much as the incumbent he’s running against — Republican Congressman Steve King.
“You are going to un-elect one of the most reactionary members of the congress and elect J.D. Scholten,” Sanders said, to cheers.
A crowd of nearly 800 gathered in the Iowa State University Memorial Union for the campaign rally. On Saturday evening, about 700 were in a Morningside College auditorium in Sioux City, which is Scholten’s hometown.
“If you build the right campaign and get out there to the people and earn it, they will vote for you and if you build something special, Senator Bernie Sanders will come,” Scholten said, drawing cheers.
Sanders, as you may recall, nearly tied Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses and his speeches this weekend touched on familiar themes, like raising the minimum wage and having Medicare for All.
“The ideas that we advocated are now not considered fringe ideas or radical ideas, they are ideas supported in many cases by the vast majority of the American people,” Sanders said, to cheers in Sioux City. “Thank you, Iowa.”
Iowa’s fourth congressional district has a 70,000 voter registration advantage for Republicans, but Sanders suggested intense interest among younger voters could spur record levels of voter turn-out.
“It is all together possible that at one or two o’clock in the morning on the night of November 6th we’re going to be looking at a House of Representatives where one party or the other party will have control by one or two votes,” Sanders said. “One of those votes could be the foruth district of Iowa.”
Deidre DeJear, the Iowa Democratic Party’s candidate for secretary of state, joined Sanders and Scholten at Sunday’s rally in Ames. Sanders said the two Democrats — both of whom are decades younger than the 77-year-old Vermont senator — have a “new vision about where our country can go.”
Congressman King tweeted about Sanders this weekend, suggesting Sanders’ vision was akin to socialism in Venezuela and the former Soviet Union.