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Bernie Sanders to make swing in California, state that will play starring role in 2020

The 2016 presidential candidate is not endorsing in congressional primaries, but will hold events across the state — which will play a prominent role in picking Democrats' next presidential nominee.
Image: Vitali Shkliarov
A Sanders rally in May 2015 in Santa Maria, California.Courtesy of Vitali Shkliarov

WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will make a swing through California early next month ahead of primary elections in a state that is set to play a starring role in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

Sanders will make four stops in southern California next Saturday, June 2, just days before the state's closely watched primary elections on June 5. But instead of backing candidates in any of those races during the trip, Sanders will speak to protesting workers and rally with activists.

His packed day will start with a roundtable with Disneyland workers in Anaheim, where unions are pushing a ballot measure that would raise wages for hospitality workers at companies that have received subsidies from the city.

Then Sanders will hold a town hall with dockworkers near the Port of Long Beach.

After that, he'll head to downtown Los Angeles for a rally with Shaun King and Patrisse Cullors, two prominent activists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. More than 3,500 people have RSVP'd online to attend the event.

California last year moved its presidential primary to early March for 2020, just after the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

The Golden State's move to "Super Tuesday" is intended to make sure the nation’s most populous state — and one of its most liberal — has a powerful influence in picking both parties' nominees.

The state had previously be shunted to the back of the calendar, when Sanders lost California to Hillary Clinton in 2016 as his campaign was winding down.

Sanders' decision not to intervene more heavily in this year's primaries may disappoint some Sanders-aligned candidates, including some running in key congressional districts where Democrats are worried they will split their vote and end up with no candidates on the ballot in November under the state's unusual "jungle primary" system.