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Politics & Government

As Presidential Hopefuls Crisscross Wisconsin, Bernie Sanders Rallies Supporters in West Allis

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Ann-Elise Henzl
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Bernie Sanders campaigned in West Allis on Tuesday.

The five remaining Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls descended upon Wisconsin in earnest on Tuesday. All visited the Milwaukee area, with just one week left before the state's primary. Bernie Sanders held a rousing rally at State Fair Park.

According to his campaign, 4,000 people cheered on Sanders in person, while another 1,500 listened from an overflow area. Sanders told the crowd their support at the polls is critical.

"Next Tuesday, a week from today, Wisconsin is going to be holding an enormously important primary election. If there is a large voter turnout, if the people of Wisconsin are prepared to stand up and help lead this country to a political revolution, we're going to win," Sanders said.

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Credit Ann-Elise Henzl
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Four-thousand people packed into a building at State Fair Park to listen to Bernie Sanders' stump speech Tuesday evening

The Vermont senator gave a rousing, hour-long speech. He focused on his positions, only briefly talking about how they differ from those of fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

Sanders said he supports strengthening unions, expanding education, increasing taxes on "corporate America," and restoring funding to Planned Parenthood.

"In other words, you can get a pretty good understanding of what I'll do as president, by looking at Scott Walker and seeing I will do exactly the opposite," Sanders said.

Linda Rabinowitz says Sanders' message resonates with her.

"I think he's for the working class and the middle class, and I think that the middle class has been disenfranchised under Gov. Walker," Rabinowitz said.

Rabinowitz added that she believes Sanders speaks from his heart and "really cares" about people -- something she finds refreshing in politics.

Another supporter, Daniel Siker, thinks Sanders' message hits home among many Milwaukee area residents.

"Milwaukee's the only city in America that's had two socialist mayors and they were very successful, and I think Milwaukee is very accepting of socialist principles, that is, Medicare, Medicaid, the things that really work for people. So I think we can really rally behind a guy like this," Siker said.

Siker says he's already volunteering for the Sanders campaign. Meanwhile, Maribel Loera is just getting involved in politics. The rally was the first such event the 18-year old high school senior has attended. She says she believes in the things Sanders believes in, including equality.

"He's not racist, is what I love about him, and I think that really speaks a lot to Wisconsin people because you know we are diverse and...my community, we really want someone who speaks to us and who really fights for our rights, as well," Loera said.

As Sanders energized the crowd at State Fair Park, the three Republican candidates were in downtown Milwaukee for a CNN town hall meeting. Democrat Hillary Clinton appeared at a church earlier in the day, for a discussion on reducing gun violence. The campaigns are planning additional events this week. Wisconsin's primary is so important in the delegate hunt, because it's the only contest on the calendar next Tuesday.

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