SEATTLE -- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke in front of a crowd of 10,000 people Sunday evening at Seattle's Key Arena.
Sanders declared the nation's economic, campaign finance and criminal justice systems as being "rigged" and criticized pharmaceutical companies for rising drug costs. He vowed to re-calibrate the economic disparities he accused corporate America of creating by raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Washington is reliably Democratic when it comes to presidential elections. It hasn't gone for a Republican candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
More than 7,500 people turned out to a high school in Vancouver, Washington early Sunday for a Sanders rally. The rally was an unprecedented event for Vancouver's 167,000 population, which has been historically overlooked during presidential campaigns.
Another stop was scheduled in Spokane.
The Vermont senator spent the past week in Arizona, and now is taking his campaign to Washington and other West Coast states that he hopes will help him make up ground after a solid delegate lead built up by Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Clinton has a lead of more than 300 delegates over Sanders from primaries and caucuses following a sweep of five states last Tuesday, so the Pacific Northwest has become important territory for him. Washington state, Alaska and Hawaii hold Democratic caucuses on Saturday, and Washington has the most delegates ultimately at stake with 101.
Former President Bill Clinton will be in Washington state Monday to campaign for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Late Friday, Clinton's campaign announced she would campaign in Seattle and Everett on Tuesday.
There are 118 Democratic delegates at stake in Washington, with 101 to be awarded proportionally based on the results of the caucuses.
The remaining 17 are technically unpledged party and elected leaders, though a majority of them — including Gov. Jay Inslee and the state's Congressional delegation — have already said they support Clinton.
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