Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who has been drawing shockingly large crowds on the campaign trail, attracted his largest audience yet on Sunday night: about 28,000 people in Portland, Oregon.
The independent senator from Vermont who has emerged as the leading alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination, appeared at a Portland arena with a capacity close to 20,000. An additional 8,000 people gathered in overflow areas set up for the event.
“Whoa! Unbelievable!” Sanders said as he took stage at the Moda Center, where the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers play.
Sanders spoke out against the political influence of the “billionaire class” and promised a better lot for the working class, including a minimum wage increase, expanded Social Security benefits and free college tuition.
Sanders has drawn larger crowds than any candidate from either party to this point in the 2016 cycle. His largest crowd to date was on Saturday night, when he drew about 15,000 people to an arena in Seattle.
By contrast, Clinton’s largest crowd, which her campaign estimated at 5,500, came at her formal kickoff in June in New York.
Someone who attended the rally reported, “I was there tonight, the air was electric! If felt like going a rock concert with the same crowd of people you would expect to find in a grocery store.”