Rep. Pramila Jayapal, leading progressive congresswoman, endorses Bernie Sanders for president

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Rep. Pramila Jayapal

Bill Clark | Getty Images

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and one of the most prominent women of color in Congress, is endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.

Her choice could bolster Sander’s strength on the left and give him an advantage over his opponent Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the closing weeks before the first nominating contest in Iowa on February 3. Jayapal, the lead sponsor of the House “Medicare for All” bill, has been courted by both candidates for an endorsement.

“Bernie has the bold passion, authenticity & clarity that working people across this country desperately need,” Jayapal wrote on Twitter. “We are building the progressive movement that will bring justice & opportunity & transform our country.”

Jayapal will join Sanders for a rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Monday to unveil her endorsement.

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as billionaire activist Tom Steyer listens after the seventh Democratic 2020 presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, January 14, 2020.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Sanders and Warren have been vying for political endorsements as polls show that progressive voters are divided between the two candidates.The two recently had a conflict over the question of whether a woman can defeat President Donald Trump. Warren said Sanders had told her in a private meeting that a woman couldn’t win the presidency, but Sanders and his campaign have strongly denied the claim.

Following Jayapal’s support, Sanders has now secured several endorsements from top leaders and women of color in the Democratic party, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

He also won the support from the top current leadership team of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC): Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Omar, the chief whip for the CPC.

Jayapal also confirmed that she will become the national health policy chair for the Sanders campaign.

Sanders wrote on Twitter that Jayapal “has been a brilliant leader for progressive ideas.”

“She’s led the fight against Trump’s racism, sexism and xenophobia,” Sanders wrote. “Together, we will defeat Trump and build a working class movement and transform this country so it works for all.”

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