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Coverage of the 2016 presidential election from NPR News and related blogs, including candidate profiles, interviews and talking points.On-air specials will also be broadcast as Election Day approaches, including the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.WRVO also provides coverage of regional elections both on-air and online.

Sanders supporters finding low-cost ways to promote candidate

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo
Central New York supporters of Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

The Syracuse for Sanders campaign is shifting into high gear as the April 19 New York presidential primary approaches. And, volunteers are doing it on a shoestring budget.

One of the way the Sanders campaign is trying to distance itself from Hillary Clinton, is by refusing so-called “big money” donations. The average contribution, according to the Sanders campaign, is $27. In central New York, that doesn’t leave a lot of cash for expensive billboards and TV ads. So the local campaign has turned to a cheaper form of advertising -- buses.

The campaign is spending $5,000 in the coming weeks to plaster “Vote for Bernie” signs on 12 Centro buses.

Credit Courtesy CENTRO
Courtesy CENTRO

“We’re trying to reach working people, people who rely on the buses to get around, and people who will benefit the most from the policies that Bernie is advocating,” says Sander supporter Andy Mager. “We thought this might be the best way to reach folks who might not be watching CNN and NPR and other sources of information.”

Mager says this will dovetail with a massive door-to-door effort the campaign is making in some of Syracuse’s poorest neighborhoods.

"We want the buses out there, so when we knock on peoples doors, we can say, ‘have you seen the bus ads’ and have you heard what Bernie’s going to do to make your life better, and people are responding to that.”

Mager says the campaign strategy here on out will rely on those door-to-door efforts, phone banks, and a fundraising concert later this month. The biggest campaign boost of course would be a visit from the candidate himself.

"You know we don’t know when he’ll be here, but we’re confident he will be here, and we’re confident we’ll have large crowds to welcome him to central New York,” said Mager.

New York’s primary is April 19. The latest Quinnipiac poll has Sanders running 12 points behind Hillary Clinton among New York Democratic voters.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.