Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won one of the most coveted endorsements in the Democratic presidential primary this week from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a political coup that some pundits theorized could inject fresh life into his fading campaign.
Both Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren made an aggressive pitch to the star freshman congresswoman, an influential voice among young Democrats.
But, while the 78-year-old Sanders was in a Nevada hospital after a heart attack, Ocasio-Cortez called to say she was coming aboard his campaign, months before she was expected to issue an endorsement, according to Politico. She’s expected to formally announce her decision at a rally in Queens, New York on Saturday afternoon, which The Washington Post first reported.
Another member of the so-called “Squad” of four liberal congresswomen, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, also endorsed Sanders. Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib is expected to endorse the 2020 hopeful, as well.
The high-profile endorsements come amid Warren’s surge in early-state and national polls, as Sanders falls to a distant third. (The most recent George Washington University poll suggested Warren was taking the lead among Democrats with 28 percent of the vote, surpassing both Sanders and long-time frontrunner former Vice President Joe Biden).
Still, clinching Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement might ultimately have little effect on the bottom line of Sanders’ campaign -- and in fact could only serve as an upset to Warren, according to David Barker, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University.
“I don’t think it matters much — at least with respect to Bernie,” he told FOX Business via email.
But Barker said the endorsement could, at least temporarily, slow Warren’s rise, in that it would have been better for her to receive Ocasio-Cortez’s nod.
“The longer it takes for her to consolidate the progressive vote, the better it is for Biden,” he said. “But this will long since be forgotten by the holidays, and Bernie is not going to get the nomination no matter what. He has a hard ceiling of support, and an endorsement by the least popular politician in the country only cements that.”