A Bernie Sanders supporter was arrested in a protest against U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott over his support as a superdelegate for Hillary Clinton.
A Bernie Sanders supporter was arrested Thursday during a protest against U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott’s refusal to shift his vote as a Democratic superdelegate from Hillary Clinton to Sanders.
Wesley Irwin, one of the organizers of the Thursday protest, said the arrest had been planned as an act of civil disobedience. Sanders supporters have been angry over the refusal of superdelegates to back him, despite the Vermont senator’s big win in Washington’s caucuses last month.
The woman arrested was among a group of about a dozen Sanders supporters who showed up at McDermott’s Seattle office to demand a meeting with the longtime Democratic congressman, who is retiring this year.
Irwin said Sanders supporters feel stonewalled by McDermott, who has not agreed to a meeting despite two other visits by activists to his office. This time, he said, the congressman’s staff told the group the superdelegate issue was a campaign matter and therefore inappropriate to discuss at his official office.
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“We believe our voices are not being represented in the government,” Irwin said. Photos and an account of the protester’s arrest were posted online by activists.
The action was part of an ongoing campaign by ardent Sanders supporters, who are demanding the state’s 17 superdelegates abandon support for Clinton, who took just 27 percent of delegates in the April 26 precinct caucuses.
Superdelegates include Democratic Party leaders and the state’s top elected Democratic officials. Under party rules, they’re considered “unpledged” and can support whichever presidential candidate they choose — and while some of Washington’s say they’re neutral, most have backed Clinton.
The campaign by Sanders backers has not convinced any of the local superdelegates to change their position, and some have complained of being harassed.
Daniel Rubin, a McDermott spokesman, confirmed the arrest but declined to comment on the protest or the group’s demands.
In a separate incident on Friday, police were called to McDermott’s office over reports of a threat. There was no immediate indication of a connection between Thursday’s protest and that incident.