Some Washington delegates still support Sanders despite his call for unity

Timothy Brown, a Washington delegate from Skagit County, shouts “We Want Bernie” at a Monday rally at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Timothy Brown, a Washington delegate from Skagit County, shouts “We Want Bernie” at a Monday rally at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Contributing writer

When Hillary Clinton introduced Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate last week, many Washington state progressives were not happy.

And Monday, on the opening day of the Democratic National Convention, they still weren’t.

“(Kaine) may not have been the best choice if Clinton wants to include progressives,” said Jake Egloff, a delegate from Wenatchee who supports Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Egloff and more than 100 other Washington delegates are in Philadelphia this week for the Democratic National Convention, where Clinton is expected to receive the party’s presidential nomination Tuesday.

Sanders, at a rally Monday in Philadelphia’s Convention Hall, focused on his values and then urged his supporters to come together to unite the Democratic Party.

“We have got to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton,” Sanders told his delegates.

For some, that wasn’t enough. Sanders said he will support Clinton in her efforts to avoid a Republican presidency, but some of his supporters were not ready to do the same.

“It was obvious from the crowd that a large number of people were not happy with parts of (Sanders’) speech,” said Sandra Williams of Spokane, referring to boos when Sanders urged his supporters to vote for Clinton.

“Other than this, he still inspired me,” said Williams, who is considering voting for Clinton.

“We’re all going to be doing a lot of soul-searching and talking this evening,” she said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of talking, talking and thinking about what is in the best interests of everyone.”

Egloff said that though Kaine “on his worst day is a thousand times better” than GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, a more progressive candidate could have solidified some of the “olive branch-type measures” Clinton has endorsed recently.

The “olive branch-type measures” Egloff referred to include an affordable health care plan for citizens and free in-state public college for students whose families earn less than $85,000 a year.

But Ava Sharifi, a delegate from Spokane, thinks Clinton is trying to appeal to a very different group of voters with her of pick of Kaine as the vice presidential nominee.

“He is very much a monopoly and big business kind of man and more likely to appeal to a leftist Republican,” she said. “Because of this, Bernie supporters see him as our opposite.”

“I believe that (selecting Kaine) was a tactic in her campaign to pull in the Republican vot. But I think the smartest strategy would have been to pull in the Bernie delegates instead of trying to go the opposite direction.”

As Sanders wrapped up his remarks at the rally, the room erupted in chants of “We Want Bernie” from angry delegates. Some were in tears.

“We just want our voices to be heard,” said Spokane delegate Sean Comfort, who attended the rally. “We all really believe in Bernie and want to see him in the presidential office.”

Natalie Bonanno, a Clinton delegate from Tacoma, was not too worried about Sanders supporters.

“I didn’t know much about Tim Kaine before, but I am impressed with what I’ve seen so far,” she said. “I think that the opposition should take the time to get to know him and realize that there are a lot more issues that unite us than divide us.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Talore McBride is a journalist and a student at Temple University in Philadelphia. She is reporting on the Democratic National Convention as part of a project allowing students to cover the event for local newspapers, TV stations and digital outlets.