U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders works the rope line at a New Year's Eve rally and party at the Renaissance Savery Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa Dec. 31, 2015.
Photo by Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters

Former DNC chair backs Bernie Sanders


Bernie Sanders, whose presidential bid has been snubbed by almost every Democratic elected official or party official, picked up the endorsement of a former Democratic National Committee chairman Thursday evening in New Hampshire.

Paul Kirk, a Democratic superdelegate who backed Barack Obama in 2008, was a longtime aide to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and briefly filled his Senate seat after the liberal icon passed away in 2009. Kirk also served as DNC chair from 1985 to 1989.

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Kirk is hardly a household name, but he’s respected by old school New England liberals and is one of Sanders’ few supporters among Democratic superdelegates, who can vote for any candidate in the nominating process.

“Among all the Presidential candidates, only Bernie Sanders is telling that truth: The unlimited amounts of money flooding our political system from a narrow and immensely wealthy slice of American society is the most pernicious internal peril threatening the fundamental tenets of economic, political, moral and social justice and, not least, the fairness and vibrancy of our representative democracy,” Kirk said in a statement announcing his endorsement. 

Kirk is also, however, a former lobbyist who also once sat on the board of the Hartford Financial Group, a major insurance company. 

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has dramatically outperformed Sanders is the race for endorsements, with more than 100 backers in Congress, four Obama cabinet members, and several governors. That includes Howard Dean, the former DNC chair and former governor of Sanders’ Vermont. Sanders has the backing of only two Democratic members of Congress, no senators, and no governors.