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Over a dozen Bernie Sanders viewing parties in Tampa Bay area scheduled for next week

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Although Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has yet to announce any appearances in Florida, his fans in the Tampa Bay area are looking forward to seeing him next week — on video.

Next Wednesday night, July 29, at 7 p.m. Eastern time, the independent socialist Vermont senator will speak via video hookup to his supporters at over 1,500 separate house parties across the country. According to Sanders’ campaign website, there are 33 such parties that will take place within 50 miles of downtown Tampa.

After Sanders concludes his speech, there will be an organizational meeting for anyone who wants to stay online and discuss joining his campaign.

There will also be an event taking place next Wednesday afternoon on the USF campus to discuss and learn more about the Sanders candidacy. That event will be at noon at the Marshal Student Center USF Tampa-Main lobby.

“Bernie seems to be the only Democratic candidate, as of now, that has an actual progressive agenda,” says Mona Petrovska, 22, a microbiology major at USF who is organizing the event. Petrovska says that while she’s really only familiar with Hillary Clinton,  the fact that so few major Democrats are challenging her for the nomination is disturbing. She also says that few of her fellow students know much about Sanders and his proposals.

“So far most of my peers seem excited that Hillary is running simply because she is a woman,” Petrovska says. “I would be ecstatic to have a female president, just not Hillary Clinton. Her agenda is just too conservative if you ask me.”

She says she likes the fact that Sanders doesn’t accept funding from Wall Street and “won’t play nice with them, either.”

In a Quinnipiac poll published today, Sanders is performing about the same as Clinton against Republicans Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio in the swing states of Iowa, Virginia and Colorado. In Colorado, Sanders trails Rubio by 11 points, Bush by 6 points, and Walker by 8 points; in Iowa, Sanders is losing to Rubio by 7 points, Bush by 4 points, and Walker by 8 points; and in Virginia, Sanders is behind Rubio by 7 points, Bush by 10 points, and Walker by 8 points.

Sanders has been drawing huge crowds on the campaign trail. He says he’s trying to create political revolution involving millions of people.

“On July 29 of this month, we will be holding what we believe will be the largest digital organizing event in the history of this country,” he recently said, as reported by The Washington Post. “We hope to have tens of thousands of people coming together to determine how they can develop movements in their local community. This campaign is not simply about electing me, I hope we accomplish that, but that ain’t the most important thing,” Sanders said. “The most important thing is building a political movement in which millions of people who have given up on the political process, including a lot of young people, get involved.”
To find the closest Bernie Sanders viewing event for next Wednesday night, go to his website, and simply post your zip code in the appropriate box.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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