Bernie Sanders Rally Draws Largest Crowd Of Any Presidential Candidate

| by Kathryn Schroeder

Self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont drew a massive crowd of supporters for his 2016 White House bid in Madison, Wisconsin, on July 1.

Sanders, who is running as an alternative to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, nearly filled the Madison Alliant Energy Center to capacity for his speech, reports The Huffington Post.

The left-leaning city was expected to garner a large turnout for Sanders campaign, and it did. According to arena staff, 9,600 people attended — the maximum capacity of the arena is 10,231.

"Tonight, we have more people at any meeting for a candidate of president of the United States than any other candidate," Sanders said, The Associated Press reports, citing the attendance at actually 10,000.

Photos of the enormous crowd were tweeted by reporters covering the event.

Photo: Alex Seitz-Wald via Twitter

Photo: Dan Merica via Twitter

Clinton, Sanders biggest competition, drew approximately 5,500 people to New York’s Roosevelt Island for her campaign launch. On the Republican side, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush  had 3,000 supporters at his in Miami.

Sanders said he wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, reform the criminal justice system, raise taxes on the wealthy and Wall Street, initiate a single-payer health care system, expand Social Security benefits and provide debt-free college education.

Sanders’ liberal politics gave way to cheers from the crowd in Madison.

"When you deny the right of workers to come together in collective bargaining, that's extremism," Sanders said. "When you tell a woman that she cannot control her own body, that's extremism."

Potential Republican candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker issued a statement before Sanders speech in his state displaying his disapproval of him for president.

"Bernie Sanders is right about one thing: We don't need another Clinton in the White House," Walker said. "On virtually every other issue, however, he stands in stark opposition to most Americans.”

Sanders announced his bid for the White House in May. Clinton is still the front runner in the polls for the Democratic nomination but Sanders has been inching forward recently on her lead.

"I think our name recognition is growing," Sanders said last month. "We have momentum. Our numbers are growing."

Considering the turnout in Wisconsin, Sanders may be correct.

Sources: AP, The Huffington Post

Photo Source: Dan Merica/Twitter