CNN town hall with Bernie Sanders

By Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 9:43 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019
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7:53 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019

Sanders has raised $10 million from more than 350,000 people

From Greg Krieg and Ryan Nobles

Bernie Sanders has raised $10 million dollars from 359,914 donors, a spokesperson for the Sanders campaign says. That works out to an average donation of a little more than $27 a person. 

The campaign also said that 39% of the donors come from new emails not previously used by the campaign. 

This was first reported by the New York Times.

7:48 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019

He wants Sanders to describe how 2020 will be different than 2016

Gordon Fletcher, a Ward 5 committeeman in DC and a professor of criminal justice and public policy at American University, said he's hoping to hear how Bernie Sanders plans to make his 2020 campaign different from his last campaign.

“Why does he feel that his message is the message for the American people?” he told CNN.

There's one thing he's especially looking for in Sanders' platform:

"That he’s going to make sure DC becomes the 51st state."
7:42 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019

They met campaigning for Sanders in 2016

Three friends who met working on Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign are here tonight for the town hall.

Monica Thomas and Chris Fury, both of Roanoke, Virginia, and Nancy Frowert, of Richmond, all served as delegates in 2016.

"Bernie brought incredible grassroots energy to the Democratic establishment in Virginia," Frowert told CNN.
8:30 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019

She wants Sanders to explain democratic socialism to her parents' generation

Adriana Perez, 19, is studying law and society at American University. She said she's half Cuban and wanted to see how Bernie Sanders will "deconstruct the word 'democratic socialism'" — and especially how he defines it for an older generation.

Perez said her parents are not OK with the phrase “democratic socialism” because they associate it with Cuba and Venezuela.

She hopes Sanders tonight will explain what that words mean in the political climate and “most importantly how he’s going to campaign democratic socialism”

“It’s really important for the old generation to know what democratic socialism actually means," she said.
7:35 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019

CNN's Wolf Blitzer is ready for tonight's town hall

CNN's Wolf Blitzer will moderate tonight's town hall with Bernie Sanders. He'll ask the Vermont senator voters' questions starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Watch more from Blitzer:

7:35 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019

Here's where Bernie Sanders stands on key issues

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders gained strong grassroots support during his 2016 anti-establishment bid for president. We expect to see the some of the progressive stances in his campaign this time around. Here's where he stands on a few key issues:

  • Health care: Sanders is planning to reintroduce Medicare-for-all legislation in tandem with Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who is developing the accompanying House bill.
  • Taxes and wealth inequality: He recently unveiled plans to raise payroll taxes on income above $250,000 and hike the estate tax on the wealthiest Americans, effectively buying more than 50 years of padding for Social Security.
  • Foreign policy: Last year, he won bipartisan support in calling for an end to military support for the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen.
  • Education: Free college was one of Sanders' most recognized talking points in the 2016 campaign. One proposal would provide states with $47 billion per year to cover two-thirds of the cost of tuition for students at public colleges and universities.
  • Climate change: After Sanders announced his 2020 bid, he wrote in an email to supporters, "We need a president who understands that climate change is real, is an existential threat to our country and the entire planet, and that we can generate massive job creation by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy." He has also previously criticized President Trump for downplaying the climate change crisis.
7:26 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019

Sanders raised nearly $6 million in 24 hours after launching his 2020 campaign

From CNN's David Wright

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders raised nearly $6 million in the 24 hours following his 2020 presidential campaign launch, his campaign said Wednesday, a record-smashing debut.

Sanders raised $5,925,771 from 223,047 individual contributors in the campaign's first 24 hours, and more than $6 million from 225,000 individuals in total since the launch.

His campaign noted that the average contribution was $27, a symbolic reflection of the grassroots support that was key to his anti-establishment bid against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Sen. Kamala Harris, also running for 2020, raised $1.5 million in the 24 hours following her announcement. Sen. Amy Klobuchar raised $1 million in the first 48 hours after her campaign launch.

Other 2020 contenders have yet to release 24-hour fundraising numbers.

Sanders enters the race with more than $9 million left in his US Senate campaign committee — funds that he can transfer to his presidential campaign. That's more than any other contender besides Warren ($11 million) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ($10.3 million) have in their Senate campaign accounts.

7:16 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019

Bernie Sanders will take questions at a CNN town hall tonight

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is in Washington tonight for a town hall moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

The Independent senator from Vermont announced his candidacy for the presidency last week and will address a host of issues at the town hall, which starts at 8 p.m. ET.

Sanders was the runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, and enters the 2020 race as one of the frontrunners — a remarkable turn for the democratic socialist who, three years ago, was viewed as a protest candidate from the political fringe.

The broad strokes of Sanders' message to voters today is nearly identical to what he pitched during and in the years since his 2016 bid. But his campaign so far suggests that, while his progressive politics are unflinching, there is an understanding that his candidacy must look different in 2020.

His itinerary, which will take him to Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday, before Sunday stops in Selma, Alabama, to mark the anniversary of 1965's "Bloody Sunday" march, and Chicago, where he graduated from college and was active in the Civil Rights movement, will play up his biography in a way that the 77-year-old rarely did the first time around.

His campaign team also looks different than it did last time, with broader racial and gender diversity.