Sanders, Biden draw support in Southwest Virginia

Ahead of Super Tuesday, volunteers show grassroots organization and top officials announce endorsements

Community canvasses for candidates ahead of Super Tuesday
Community canvasses for candidates ahead of Super Tuesday

ROANOKE, Va. – The candidates who are still standing in the race for the Democratic nomination for president are vying for attention in Virginia ahead of thousands voting on Super Tuesday.

Local volunteer efforts show the passion people have this election cycle. 10 News watched on Monday as Bernie Sanders supporters joined the nationwide grassroots efforts, knocking on doors and making phone calls, trying to convince their neighbors to vote for the Vermont senator.

[Your guide to voting in Virginia’s 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary election]

Supporters out canvassing have visited 5,000 houses in Roanoke alone, contributing to the more than 100,000 houses visited across Virginia, according to a Sanders campaign spokesperson.

Some of the volunteers are getting politically active for the first time, including Roanoke County’s Cecilia Alami.

“I’m going to be 70 years old next week and this is the first time that I’m actually involved in canvassing,” Alami said.

They hear the criticism of some of Sanders’ goals but feel Sanders is who the country needs.

“It’s not things for free. It’s opportunity,” Alami said of Sanders’ platform.

His local supporters said the number one issue that’s important to people they’ve talked to is worker wages.

One Floyd woman even volunteered out of state.

[How does the Democratic Presidential Primary work in Virginia?]

“I canvassed in South Carolina and I know there was a tremendous amount of momentum there,” Tara Orlando said. “It’s very refreshing to have a candidate that I feel is going to move us forward, a candidate who gives me hope for the future for my grandchildren and for everybody else’s grandchildren.”

Many Virginia Tech students are also working to get Sanders elected, holding events on campus.

Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea has a different view.

“I like his boldness, but I wonder if that will sail across the country,” Lea said of Sanders.

He’s endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, speaking in support of him at a local event on Thursday.

“I think he’s electable and I think that’s important,” Lea said. “I’m thinking Joe can get votes in red states.”

Also on the ballot Tuesday are Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and billionaire Mike Bloomberg.