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Hamm Goes Toe-to-Toe with Menendez over Sanders Prez Candidacy

Larry Hamm

Larry Hamm, chairman of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in New Jersey and a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, said congressional canddiates running on Sanders’ message of social and economic justice can win – and win big.

They shouldn’t run from Sanders but run to him, argued Hamm, a lifelong grassroots activist and founder of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), an arument affirmed here by his Sanders Campaign ally.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) wariness about Sanders prompted Hamm to offer his counter argument about the stampeding progressive candidate for President.

“Obviously if Senator Menendez is addressing this issue it is a concern for incumbents in those districts who would vote for [Republican President Donald J.] Trump,” Hamm told InsiderNJ. “Districts closer to purple.

“At the same time,” added the U.S. senate candidate, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) in the Democratic Primary, “We have to ask ourselves what is happening. There is a tectonic shift taking place among Democrats. People want change. They don’t want Trump, first of all; but the question is, what are the policies that are going to guide the nation? People want policies that relate to economic justice. The middle class is being pushed into the working class, working class people being are being pushed into poverty, and poor people are falling through the safety net and joining the ranks of the homeless. Bernie Sanders is the one putting forward policies that address quality of life, and not just taking care of the richest people in society. People want government to work for them.”

He pointed out that Sanders’ surge puts on display a significant intra-party post-Iowa reality, including the collapse of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Part of the ensuing discussion in New Jersey politics includes Menendez’s suggestion of an open primary.

Hamm said the estabishment is worried – but only because it is out of touch with people on the ground.

His choice for president, Sanders said he would back the Democratic nominee, whoever that person is – to go against Trump.

The question now is whether the moderates and centrists will unite behind Sanders.

“If the party unites behind Bernie Sanders, he can carry all those districts where Democrats are,” Hamm said. “If people unite on a platform of social and economic justice if Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee, it will cause such excitement in this country, it will be comparable to what we had for Barack Obama in 2008.”

Earlier today, state Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26), co-chair of Trump’s New Jersey campaign, told InsiderNJ that the economy is performing well.

Hamm said it is for the wealthy and super wealthy, not for regular people.

“The numbers are deceptive,” said the progressive candidate for the United States Senate. “And these are not the jobs of our parents. These are jobs without adequate health benefits or pensions. A lot of these so-called jobs don’t offer long-term security. It’s mythology that benefits the Trump Administration and those at the top.”

In New Jersey, those battleground congressional districts are not homogeneous districts, said Hamm.

“They are mixed racially and socio-economically,” he said. “I believe if the people in those districts unite behind the message that Senator Sanders has been making, it will help them.

“If they continue to cater to Trump voters, it will spell disaster,” he added.

InsiderNJ asked the candidate about Menendez’s advocacy of an open primary, noting that in the event the establishment does embrace Sanders prior to the June Primary and a conventional ballot remains, Hamm’s senate candidacy could be a casualty.

“That remains to be seen,” Hamm said. My campaign for senate is closely aligned with Senator Sanders, whether we are on the same ballot line or not. As it was in 2016, my goal main and objective in 2020 is to get Bernie Sanders elected.”

This time, there is the added bonus of his own candidacy, he acknowledged.

“When Senator Sanders wins the White House, it is important for him to have strong support in the senate,” he said. “We have to win back the senate and win the house.”

Sanders, again, he insisted, is a benefit if the party embraces him.

As for the open primary idea, “I’m still thinking about it,” Hamm said. “I would like to be on the line with Bernie Sanders. Also, I don’t have any fear. Those pople who unite behind Bernie Sanders will help give us record voter turnout.”

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