BLOOMINGTON, Ind.– Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke in Bloomington Friday as part of his nine-state battleground tour on behalf of the Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.
Friday's rally was for Liz Watson, who is challenging Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) in a closely watched race in Indiana's ninth congressional district.
In the video above, see clips of Friday's rally and our one-on-one interview with Hollingsworth, who is running for re-election two years after he was first elected to Congress in 2016.
“It continues to be a double-digit race. We saw that from the very beginning in May and we’ve carried that double-digit lead all the way through this week," said Hollingsworth. " I think Liz Watson’s values are out of step with Hoosier values."
As for Sanders, he is expected to make a decision on whether to launch another Presidential campaign in the coming months and says this tour could inform his decision. It will allow him to test the durability of the left-leaning coalition he assembled in 2016 and build relationships with elected officials who could serve as allies should he run again.
Other stops on his October calendar include Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, home to crucial early contests on the 2020 primary calendar.
Sanders has been at the center of a debate over the party’s future and whether his agenda of free college tuition, a $15 hourly minimum wage and a “Medicare for all” health care can win over general-election voters. The senator is coming off a victory after Amazon announced recently it would raise its wages for its workers to $15 per hour starting next month, and will raise pay for employees who make more than that, responding in part to pressure from Sanders.
“We are clearly in an unprecedented moment in American history, a very, very dangerous moment. We have an unstable president who is a liar, who has very strong authoritarian tendencies,” Sanders said during a campaign event in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, last month.
But he said there has been a “waking up among the American people, a desire to move this country in a very different direction, a disgust with the movement of this country toward oligarchy.”