After selling more than 1,500 tickets in one week to an upcoming speech by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Kansas Democratic Party is moving the event from its convention hotel to Topeka High School, party officials said.
Sanders’ ticket sales quickly outstripped the space in the ballroom at the Topeka Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, where the party usually holds the keynote speech for its annual Washington Days convention, party executive director Kerry Gooch said at Saturday’s 4th Congressional District Democratic convention.
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, energized millions of millennial and liberal voters and vaulted to national prominence when he challenged Hillary Clinton for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination. His campaign events drew fervent supporters to arenas around the country.
“We are super-excited to have Sen. Sanders coming to speak at our state convention,” Gooch said. “We’re hoping that Sen. Sanders is going to come and it’s going to draw a lot of his supporters to help them get more engaged in the Democratic Party.”
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Sanders is probably the most popular Democratic Party figure in Kansas, having won last year’s state presidential caucus by more than 2-1 over Clinton, Gooch said.
Tickets for Sanders’ Feb. 25 speech are either $150 each or a minimum $10-a-month pledge to the party’s Blue Kansas Club.
Tickets remain on sale. Depending on how many more are sold, the speech will be held at either the high school auditorium, which seats 2,000, or the gymnasium, which seats up to 4,000, Gooch said.
More information is available under the Washington Days section on the state party website, www.kansasdems.org.