Bernie Sanders in Portland

Maine Democrats backing presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will open the campaign’s state headquarters in Portland Wednesday.

The office opening is largely ceremonial, but Sanders supporters say their candidate has been embraced by activists and elected officials here. According to former state Sen. Troy Jackson, a Democratic National Committeeman, local activists had to cut off invitations to the event after just 10 hours. Jackson also said that Sanders has garnered the support of a surprising number of legislators and other influential party figures.

Jackson said the list of Sanders supporters — the so-called Working Class Cabinet — will become public shortly.

Mainers showed their support for Sanders when the self-described “Democratic socialist” drew roughly 7,000 people to a July rally in Portland.  Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, held a smaller organizing rally before 400 people in the city. Clinton’s decision to stage her event at a smaller venue, and thus avoid apples-to-apples crowd size comparisons, generated some criticism among Sanders supporters on online forums.

While Sanders’ backers argue that the former Secretary of State has failed to energize some factions of progressive activists, Clinton’s team in October announced a Maine leadership team of nearly 40 elected officials and activists. Clinton’s Maine backers include former Gov. John Baldacci and Attorney General Janet Mills, as well as U.S Rep. Chellie Pingree, House Speaker Mark Eves and former Senate President Justin Alfond.

The Sanders campaign office opening will take place at 6 p.m. at 465 Congress St. and is open to the public. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.


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