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Sanders: Back Third-Party Down Ballot, Not for President

Bernie Sanders wants American voters to support third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein and to not simply see them as wasted votes.

The Hill reports:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday encouraged voters in New York to back third-party candidates for Congress but to support Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

“This is not the time for a protest vote, in terms of the presidential campaign,” Sanders said, according to The Washington Post. “This is the time to elect Hillary Clinton and then work after the election to mobilize millions of people to make sure she can be the most progressive president she can be.”

He added: “I know more about third-party politics than anyone else in the Congress, okay? And if people want to run as third-party candidates, God bless them! Run for Congress. Run for governor. Run for state legislature.”

Sanders was speaking in New Paltz, N.Y., at a rally for Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout. He’s also scheduled to campaign on Friday with Katie McGinty, who is running for the Senate in Pennsylvania.

Sanders, who focused on opening up the Democratic Party’s primary process during his unsuccessful presidential bid, has shifted his efforts to congressional races. His organization, Our Revolution, has pledged to support 100 progressive down-ballot candidates.

The Vermont senator has also stumped for Clinton — arguing she’s the only viable option to beat Donald Trump — in an effort to drum up support among the party’s liberal wing for the former secretary of State.

Friday’s rally comes as Clinton has been dogged by questions about her health and a string of polls that show an increasingly tight presidential election.

Trump and Clinton are scheduled to take part in the Sept. 26 debate at Hofstra University in New York. Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein missed the cut for the first debate.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

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