Sanders backs Lazer in 5th District congressional race

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has endorsed Rich Lazer in Tuesday's crowded 5th District Democratic primary. (AP file photo)

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has endorsed Rich Lazer in Tuesday's crowded 5th District Democratic primary. (AP file photo)

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has made an endorsement in a hotly contested Democratic congressional primary in the Philadelphia area

The former presidential candidate has backed South Philadelphian Rich Lazer, who’s heavily supported by a labor-funded super PAC  in the 5th Congressional District, which is mostly in Delaware County.

Lazer said in a phone interview his agenda squares with that of Sanders, and his supporters reached out to the senator.

“I know labor’s been pushing hard for the endorsement. I know the mayor was as well,” Lazer said. “And once he saw that we were on the same page, and we agreed on our core message, we had a little conversation, and it all came together.”

Lazer said Sanders called him Friday afternoon and asked if his endorsement would be helpful, and Lazer thanked him for his support. He said he hopes to use the endorsement in digital ads, and perhaps a mailing in the closing days of the race.

Another candidate, Molly Sheehan, has been endorsed by two local chapters of Our Revolution, a group that grew out of the Sanders presidential campaign. She said the Lazer endorsement is surprising.

“Rich’s campaign is essentially fueled by the super PAC loopholes that were created by the Citizens United ruling we’re all fighting against,” Sheehan said.

That Supreme Court decision allowed corporations, unions and certain nonprofits to raise and spend unlimited amounts to advocate for and against political candidates

There are 10 candidates in the 5th District Democratic primary election Tuesday.

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