WASHINGTON -- Sen. Bernie Sanders will head to Ohio Saturday to help Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a battleground state where her poll numbers are flagging.
His mission: millennials.
The Vermont independent was a clear favorite among young people during his primary battle with Clinton, consistently leading overwhelmingly among 18-29-year-olds. Though Sanders lost Ohio, a CNN exit poll showed he won 81% of that age bracket in the Buckeye State.
At events in the Canton, Kent and Akron areas, Sanders is tasked with emphasizing Clinton’s proposals to help young people by, among other things, eliminating college tuition for working people and making free community college and debt-free college available to all Americans. Sanders will kick off a “Weekend of Action” organizing event in the Canton area and rally Ohioans on college campuses in the Kent and Akron areas, according to the Clinton campaign’s announcement.
Sanders said during an interview that he aims to help Clinton by cutting through the media’s focus on personality politics and focusing on how Clinton tops GOP nominee Donald Trump on important issues.
“What every American – Democrat, Republican, independent -- has got to ask themselves, issue by issue, (is), ‘Who is the better candidate for them, for the middle class, for working families?’” Sanders said. “And if you go through the issues – raising the minimum wage, pay equity, family leave, making public colleges and universities tuition free, climate change -- on all of those issues and many, many others, clearly Hillary Clinton is far and away the superior candidate. That’s what has to be dealt with and that’s the point that we’ll try to make.”
Sanders, who spent most of August writing a book, will also campaign Friday for congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout in New York and later that day for Senate candidate Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania. In an August fundraising letter, Sanders focused on McGinty’s race and on Senate races in Ohio, New Hampshire and Nevada, saying the outcome of those races could determine which party controls the Senate in 2017.
Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, said she has asked Sanders to help the party with voter registration, early voting and get-out-the-vote efforts.
“The time I want Bernie – and I love him – is for early voting,” she said. “Bernie Sanders is going to help Democrats up and down the ticket.”
In Ohio, Sanders will urge supporters to register to vote ahead of the state’s Oct. 11 deadline, according to the Clinton campaign. In addition to education, Sanders also will discuss Clinton’s plans to protect access to health care for young Americans, raising the minimum wage, protecting the climate and protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
After the primaries, Sanders worked with Clinton in July on an education plan that would allow families with incomes up to $125,000 to pay no tuition at in-state public colleges and universities. Hillary for Ohio released a report this week that found more than 89% of Ohio households would qualify.
Sanders held his first solo campaign event for Clinton since his endorsement of her in July on Labor Day in New Hampshire, where he introduced Senate candidate and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Contributing: Deborah Barfield Berry, USA TODAY