PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Locked in a tight race for a U.S. Senate seat, challenger Katie McGinty and incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey have been crisscrossing the state, looking to pick up votes.
On Friday evening, McGinty, the Democratic candidate, got a little help from a former presidential candidate.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, fired up a crowd of hundreds at the campaign rally for McGinty at Carnegie Mellon University’s Wiegand Gymnasium.
The U.S. Senate race is an important one, and Pennsylvania an important state for both political parties. All the polls suggest that it’s neck-and-neck between McGinty and Republican Sen. Toomey.
The Democrats must pick up five Senate seats from Republicans in order to retake control of the United States Senate. Without defeating Toomey and winning Pennsylvania, they’re very unlikely to win the U.S. Senate.
So, Sen. Sanders delivered an unequivocal endorsement for McGinty.
“The future agenda of the United States of America may well rest on the results of this election, which is why we need Katie McGinty in the United States Senate,” he said.
Sen. Sanders spoke about the middle class while addressing the crowd.
“For 40 years, under Republican leadership and Democratic leadership, what we have seen in this country is the decline in the American middle class,” he said. “We have 47 million Americans today living in poverty, some in extreme poverty. But you know what else has happened in that period? Almost all of the new income and wealth has gone to the one percent. Enough is enough.”
McGinty picked up the same theme.
“Pat Toomey votes against the minimum wage, against equal pay for equal work, and he votes to bust the unions that give workers a voice. He’s not for us,” she said during the rally.
Between 800-900 supporters attended the rally.
“Bernie Sanders has a thing with Millennials, so this will attract a lot of college students who usually don’t think about lower races on the ticket, such as for senator, to kind of get interested in this,” said Chenoa Yorgason, of Oakland.
“Actually, we were out working on her campaign, and we believe in what she stands for,” added Dave Harvey, of USW Local 8042. “She stood by the working people, she stood with us on the picket lines and she has good family values.”
Sen. Toomey was also in Pittsburgh today, trying to turn Sanders support against McGinty.
“When Bernie Sanders calls you a liberal, you better believe you’re a liberal,” he said.
The McGinty campaign says they believe Sen. Sanders is an important draw for them to get voters excited about their candidate and encourage college students who are not yet registered to vote in Pennsylvania to do so.
Oct. 11 is the deadline to register.