April 28, 2020 / 7:15 PM / a month ago

Sanders' campaign alumni now backing Biden with a Super PAC

FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the 11th Democratic candidates debate of the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, held in CNN's Washington studios without an audience because of the global coronavirus pandemic, in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) - Alumni of Senator Bernie Sanders’ unsuccessful presidential campaigns on Tuesday said they had started a new political fundraising group to support onetime rival Joe Biden.

The group, Future to Believe In PAC, announced ambitions to rally Sanders’ supporters to vote against Republican President Donald Trump, “with a focus on young voters of all races, very liberal voters, blue collar progressives, and Latino voters in support of Joe Biden.”

Jeff Weaver, a longtime aide to Sanders who managed his 2016 presidential campaign, will help lead the group, along with Sanders’ 2020 campaign senior advisers Chuck Rocha and Tim Tagaris, as well as another campaign official, Shelli Jackson. The group is not associated directly with Sanders or his campaign, they said in a statement.

The popularity of Sanders’ liberal policy prescriptions among Democratic voters has pushed Biden, their presumptive nominee, to adopt new policies on healthcare and climate change as he courts the votes he will need in a close election against Trump.

Weaver said Sanders’ supporters’ success in changing Democratic Party policies would amount to little “if we don’t elect the candidates we have pushed, and continue to push, to be more progressive.”

In a statement, he said that “electing Joe Biden as President of the United States will allow some of those gains to be institutionalized so that our movement can focus on pushing the debate even further in years to come.”

The group is organized as a super PAC, groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money but not directly coordinate with campaigns, federal elections records show. Biden, Sanders and other Democratic candidates have raised concerns about the political influence of outside spending groups but ended up benefiting from their support.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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