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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d7d40002Coverage of the issues, races and people shaping Kansas elections in 2016, including statewide coverage in partnership with KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, and High Plains Public Radio.

Kansas Democrats: Backing Sanders, Seeking Unity For Clinton

The Democratic National Convention kicked off today in Philadelphia. The plan is four nights of speeches which will culminate with Hillary Clinton formally accepting the presidential nomination on Thursday. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur spoke with a Democratic delegate from Kansas who’s attending the event.

The majority of Democratic delegates from Kansas have traveled to Philadelphia not in support of Hillary Clinton, but for Bernie Sanders, who won the Kansas caucuses in strong fashion.

Credit Courtesy Nathan Bales
Nathan Bales, right, with Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Representative for Connecticut's 3rd congressional district.

Nathan Bales, a Sanders delegate from Winfield, says he and his fellow Kansans are still having a tough time coming to the realization that Clinton has won.

“It’s a hard, hard thing for some people," Bales says. "For a lot of the delegates here—it’s an emotional struggle. But yeah. I think everyone is coming to that.”

While Bales and others from Kansas are surrendering calmly, many other Sanders supporters aren’t. There were boos during a Sanders speech this morning, in which he told the crowd to get behind Clinton in order to defeat Donald Trump.

According to the AP, local party leaders are hoping past divisions heal enough that the presidential race in their Republican-leaning state isn't a blowout.

Bales says he’s interested to see how this dynamic plays out over the next few days.

Despite the Sanders boos, Bales adds that he’s seen a lot of unity so far in Philadelphia.

“There’s just such a community, you feel like you’re with family," Bales says. "It’s a really unique atmosphere having a whole city filled with people that feel similarly.”

Bales says he’s excited to witness each of the speeches planned for the convention.


Follow Sean Sandefur on Twitter, @SeanSandefur

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.