Politics & Government

Sanders to speak at Kansas Democratic Party event in Topeka

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a Democratic debate in March.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a Democratic debate in March. File photo

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose grassroots 2016 run for the presidency energized millions of liberal and millennial voters, is scheduled to speak at the Kansas Democratic Party’s Washington Days convention in Topeka in late February, according to sources within the party.

An official announcement is expected as early as Monday.

The news of Sanders’ scheduled appearance made the rounds via word of mouth at Saturday’s 4th Congressional District Democratic reorganization meeting and on Sunday began to trickle out in Democratic circles on social media.

State Democrats are waiting for approval of the announcement from Sanders’ office before making a formal public confirmation, sources said.

Washington Days is the Kansas Democratic Party’s annual state convention at Topeka, scheduled for Feb. 24 and 25 at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center.

The state Democratic Party’s web page on the event was down Sunday, and its Facebook invitation carried the message: “Sorry, early bird tickets for Washington Days are no longer available.”

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, rode a wave of millennial and liberal fervor when he challenged the more centrist Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president.

Although he attracted hundreds of thousands of voters to mass rallies across the nation, his challenge ultimately fell short. Clinton went on to win the nomination but lost the presidential race to Republican Donald Trump.

Sanders easily won Kansas’ presidential caucus last March with 68 percent of the vote to 32 percent for Clinton.

After a long first night on the Democratic National Convention floor, delegates from Kansas received a boost of energy Tuesday morning, July 26, 2016, when Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped by for a visit. (Video by Paige Gross)

In a March campaign rally in Lawrence, Sanders drew a crowd of thousands to his platform calling for universal health care, tuition-free college education and an end to discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans.

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas