- Title: After heart attack, campaign battles to keep Bernie Sanders in presidential race
- Date: 14th October 2019
- Summary: MIAMI, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES (FILE - JUNE 27, 2019) (REUTERS) SANDERS IN POST-DEBATE SPIN ROOM SPEAKING TO REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING: "I think that's kind of ageism, to tell you the truth." (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, SAYING: "Look, if I were to say to a younger person you're not qualified because you're only 35 or 36 or something like that, you don't have the experience, that's not right, I don't think so. Judge people on the totality of who they are, what their ideas are, what their experience is, what their record is. That's what I think we should be looking at." HOUSTON, TEXAS, UNITED STATES (FILE - SEPTEMBER 12, 2019) (REUTERS) SANDERS SPEAKING TO REPORTERS SANDERS, IN SPIN ROOM AFTER DEBATE TALKING TO REPORTERS
- Embargoed: 28th October 2019 10:42
- Keywords: Bernie Sanders heart attack campaign health
- Location: LAS VEGAS, NEVADA AND BURLINGTON, VERMONT AND DURHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE AND DES MOINES, IOWA AND MIAMI, FLORIDA AND HOUSTON, TEXAS, UNITED STATES
- City: LAS VEGAS, NEVADA AND BURLINGTON, VERMONT AND DURHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE AND DES MOINES, IOWA AND MIAMI, FLORIDA AND HOUSTON, TEXAS, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA005B12J7T3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: With all campaign events canceled after an unexpected heart surgery and nothing scheduled until Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, Bernie Sanders' campaign has been seeking to reassure supporters the 78-year-old senator is still a viable presidential pick.
The campaign has blasted the press with policy announcements and attempted to pivot the health scare to a message about his signature Medicare for All policy. His campaign is going forward with a $1.3 million TV ad buy in Iowa, the crucial early voting state that will kick off the Democratic primary contest in February.
Sanders cleared his previously frenetic campaign schedule after a heart attack on Oct. 1 at a time when his candidacy has already been eclipsed by fellow liberal Elizabeth Warren's ascent as a chief contender to early front-runner Joe Biden, who is 76.
At 78, Sanders is the oldest of the 19 Democrats seeking the party's nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump, 73, in the November 2020 election.
Sanders, who has been recovering at his home in Burlington, Vermont, since his heart attack, will hold a "Bernie's Back" rally at Queensbridge Park in New York on Oct. 19, his first rally in nearly three weeks.
On Tuesday, he will appear alongside 11 other Democratic candidates who qualified for the fourth primary debate in Ohio, when voters in Iowa will be watching Sanders' performance closely, Nilles said.
A raft of TV ads - postponed for several days when Sanders was hospitalized - began airing on Oct. 8 in Iowa, at a cost of $1.3 million, underscoring the campaign's spending power after raising more cash than any other candidate in the third quarter.
Phone volunteers also made about 800,000 calls to early voting states including Iowa in the four days after Sanders health scare was reported, campaign officials said.
The response was a sign of the passion his loyal supporters feel for the democratic socialist's agenda of reorienting the U.S. economy against corporate power and tackling rising inequality with measures like expanding government-run healthcare.
But doubts over his health could make it more challenging to pick up new supporters. Many national polls in recent weeks have already shown U.S. Senator Warren of Massachusetts, who is 70, pulling ahead of Sanders into second place behind Biden.
Faiz Shakir, the campaign manager, said Sanders would show during Tuesday's debate he was "on the path to a full recovery".
Some had been writing off Sanders' campaign from the start, ignoring the large numbers of people donating to and volunteering for the campaign, he said.
Sanders raised $25.3 million from 1.4 million individual donations in the last quarter, exceeding Warren's $24.6 million raised from 943,000 donations.
Within days of his campaign launch in February, Sanders has said more than 1 million people volunteered. His campaign boasts 25,000 organizers and volunteers in Iowa alone. Other campaigns have not disclosed comparable figures.
Sanders told CNN on Thursday he would soon return to campaigning in early primary and caucus states and was "ready to go full blast".
Grant Woodard, who has served on several Democratic campaigns and works as a lawyer in Iowa, said while Sanders might not be leading in polls his campaign boasts an impressive network in the state.
In Iowa, the campaign said Sanders staffers and volunteers continued to canvass voters and knock doors even as the candidate was in hospital.
But fired up volunteers might not be enough for the campaign to stand out in the historically large Democratic primary field, said Elesha Gayman, chair of the Democratic party in Iowa's Scott County.
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