Humboldt County supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) presidential campaign were left devastated after the insurgent candidate formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Tuesday.
In April, Breitbart News reported that Humboldt County, which sits in California’s reliably Democrat second congressional district, was undisputed Sanders territory, and Sanders ultimately did carry the district in the state’s June 7 primary.
“I’ll put it this way,” Eureka resident Steven Buckingham told Breitbart News in April. “As a [Humboldt County] resident, I’ve never met someone in person here who has actually verbally said they’re voting for Hillary.”
Sanders ultimately picked up 68,210 votes in the 2nd District, while Clinton earned 59,257. But the vote tally was substantially different in Humboldt County, where Sanders received 68 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 31 percent.
That level of enthusiasm for Sanders’s campaign in the county, where progressive politics and an outsider ethos dominate, made it especially difficult for area Democrats to stomach the Vermont senator’s formal endorsement of Clinton at a joint campaign rally on Tuesday.
“I’m pretty disappointed. This is hard for us to swallow,” Northern Humboldt for Bernie organizer Tamara McFarland told the Eureka Times-Standard. “A lot of people thought something could happen in the last few weeks; seeing that possibility end today is hard.”
Sanders supporters could be heard booing when the Vermont senator endorsed Clinton at Tuesday’s campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Sanders subtly jabbed Clinton even as he endorsed her, saying that he had won primaries and caucuses in 22 states and a significant number of pledged delegates.
But Clinton picked up the vast majority of superdelegate votes, including that of 2nd Congressional District Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), who formally endorsed Clinton in October and will vote for Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July despite his county’s decisive preference for Sanders.
According to the Times-Standard, a demonstration was planned Wednesday outside of Huffman’s Eureka office to protest the congressman’s vote.
“This whole time we’ve been marching to the message that we’d take this campaign all the way to the convention,” McFarland told the paper. “We’re still reeling from the news.”
McFarland added that her group, Northern Humboldt for Bernie, would not necessarily support Clinton in a potential general election matchup against Donald Trump. Instead, she told the Times-Standard, the group would focus on long-term grassroots progressive outreach.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum