Bernie Sanders tapped for Senate Democratic leadership post
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Bernie Sanders tapped for Senate Democratic leadership post

Former presidential hopeful named party chair of outreach, will be tasked with connecting to blue-collar voters who supported Trump

Former Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaking during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Former Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaking during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent, has joined the Senate Democratic leadership.

Sanders was named chair of outreach for the party on Wednesday, according to reports on the closed-door Senate Democratic caucus meeting.

As an independent, Sanders was an outsider to the Democratic Party until he ran for its presidential nomination this year. His campaign, which began in 2015, was deemed a long shot, but he garnered more than 40 percent of the primary votes and brought his challenge to eventual nominee Hillary Clinton to the Democratic National Convention in July.

Days before the convention, leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee showed staffers discussing how to hinder his candidacy.

Bernie Sanders introducing the then-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., July 12, 2016. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Bernie Sanders introducing the then-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., July 12, 2016. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Sanders’ campaign focused on addressing income inequality and targeted the country’s wealthiest echelon. In his new position, he will be in charge of reaching out to blue-collar voters who supported President-elect Donald Trump, a Republican, in last week’s election, The Hill reported.

Sanders was named to the position by New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who was elected Senate Democratic leader, succeeding retiring Senator Harry Reid of Nevada. This year Sanders became the first Jewish candidate to win a US presidential primary and Schumer became the first Jewish politician to lead either party’s Senate caucus.

Schumer and Sanders are backing the candidacy of Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Muslim lawmaker, to be the next chairman of the DNC.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin was re-elected as Senate Democratic whip.

On the Republican side, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell was reelected majority leader on Wednesday “by acclimation by his colleagues with a standing ovation,” the senator’s spokesman, Don Stewart, told The Hill.

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