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Arkansas Sanders Delegates Find Support Among Other State Dems

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With the Democratic National Convention underway, Hillary Clinton still enjoys the strong support of many Arkansas Democrats who remember her days as the state’s first lady. But some of the state’s Bernie Sanders delegates aren’t ready to back the presumptive nominee even as they mix with party mainstays.

Ten of the Arkansas Democratic Party’s  37 delegates to the National Convention in Philadelphia have pledged support for Bernie Sanders. One is Dorianne Dias, a Sanders delegate from Batesville. Though the Vermont Senator does not have the numbers to win the Democratic nomination, Dias said she has not yet made up her mind about Hillary Clinton. She’s still considering third party candidates.

“In many states, voters have at least four choices [for President] on the ballot. So that’s going to be a much tougher question—a more complex question for me and other Bernie supporters,” she said Monday night.

Tensions within the Democratic Party are reportedly high over leaked emails showing that party officials may have attempted to undermine the Sanders campaign. But Dias says the atmosphere among Arkansas’s Democratic delegation has been one of mutual support.

 “I think in Arkansas, because we’re such a red state, we already kind of understand that pretty much any shade of blue is a good shade of blue,” she said.

Another Bernie delegate in Philadelphia--28 year old Teresa Gallegos of Russellville—said she still harbors ill feelings toward Clinton, but not toward Clinton’s supporters and delegates from Arkansas.

“It’s really interesting to hear their stories about what inspired them to get involved in politics 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago. It’s been a great experience getting to know them and learn more about the process,” she said.

The support between Arkansas’s Clinton and Sanders delegates was displayed just before the Senator took the convention podium as the last speaker of the night.

“My favorite moment was when the Arkansas delegates for Hillary let the Bernie delegates for Arkansas take their seats in the first and second rows before Bernie came out. And they let us have our moment with Bernie. I was just nonstop tears because I’m so proud of everything that we’ve accomplished together,” Gallegos said.

whatever the outcome of the convention, Gallegos said she’s proud of the accomplishments of organizing for the campaign, in what she and other Sanders supporters call the “political revolution.”  

Copyright 2016 KUAR

Chris Hickey was born and raised in Houston, Texas, spending his teenage years in Camden, Ohio. He graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, majoring in English. He got his start in public radio working as a board operator at WMUB in Oxford, Ohio during his summer and winter breaks from school. Since graduating, he has made Little Rock home. He joined KUAR in September 2011 as a production intern and has since enjoyed producing, anchoring and reporting for the station. He is the composer of KUAR's Week-In-Review Podcast theme music and the associate producer of Arts & Letters.