A political opponent claims U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is “corrupting” the election process in Vermont.
Even though Folasade Adeluola was soundly defeated by Sanders in the state’s primary elections this week, she is still trying to secure a place on the ballot in November.
“It is time for Senator Sanders to go,” said Adeluola, a self-described political “underdog.” “Bernie can do his politics in a wishy-washy way.”
Sanders, who is deeply popular with his constituents, won this week’s primary, overwhelmingly.
However, as he has before, Sanders is expected to decline the Democrats’ nomination and run as an Independent, since he can’t appear on general election ballots as both.
Adeluola, a U.S. citizen born in Nigeria who moved to Vermont last year, said she is self-employed in insurance and accounting. She said she believes if Sanders doesn’t want to run as a Democrat, she should be able to—since she received the next-highest vote total.
“He’s not a true Democrat,” Adeluola said of Sanders. “I am a Democrat.”
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NBC 10 Boston and necn obtained the formal complaint Adeluola filed this week with the Vermont Secretary of State’s office, in which she alleges Sanders is trying to “game” the system—claiming his “pattern of infidelity” to the Vermont Democratic Party has corrupted the process.
Adeluola’s filing says she should be declared the winner of the Democratic primary, calling her “the only true candidate in this contest.”
Christopher Di Mezzo of the Vermont Democratic Party said Sanders has done great things for the party, both on the state and national levels.
“Bernie’s a great friend of the party,” Di Mezzo told NBC 10 Boston and necn. “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a Democrat around the country that doesn’t believe that Bernie Sanders is a leader of that party.”
Di Mezzo said for all intents and purposes, the state party considers the Independent Sanders a Democrat, because he has long caucused with Democrats in Congress, and works hard to get other liberals elected up and down the ballot in Vermont.
“Whether he chooses to take our party line or not, our party is going to choose to support him, full-heartedly,” Di Mezzo said, adding that the state party passed a resolution saying that as long as a candidate caucuses with the Democrats and wins the support of a majority of Democrats in Vermont, the party will consider that person their candidate.
Adeluola said she believes Sanders’ travels around the country on behalf of other candidates has been dividing his attention from Vermont issues, which she would focus on were she to be elected to office.
“Personally, I respect Senator Sanders and I love him–like the rest of the Vermonters,” Adeluola said. “But politically, I disagree with him.”
The reelection campaign of Sen. Sanders issued the following written statement in response to a request from NBC 10 Boston and necn:
“Senator Sanders is very proud that almost 95 percent of Vermont Democrats cast their ballots for him on Tuesday. They know he is fighting every day for them and their families. As he has in the past, Senator Sanders will appear on the ballot as an independent, with the strong endorsement of the Vermont Democratic Party. And he will continue to vigorously support Democratic candidates up and down the ballot in Vermont and across the country who are standing up against the disastrous Trump administration and fighting for economic, racial, social, and environmental justice.”
As for Folasade Adeluola’s complaint about Sanders’ handling of the nomination, Will Senning, Vermont’s director of elections and campaign finance, said the office of Secretary of State Jim Condos will issue a written determination as soon as possible.