Bernie Sanders supporters rally during his Bay Area visit
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - As a crowd of thousands cheered at Vallejo's waterfront park, Senator Bernie Sanders faced his supporters as the sun went down and turned up the heat.
"Thank you Vallejo," Sanders said.
"Last night we won in Oregon and you know what? I think we're going to sweep the West Coast," Sanders told supporters who cheered loudly.
After a full day of campaigning in San Jose and an impromptu stop in San Francisco at a hotel workers labor rally, Sanders didn't show any signs of slowing down in Vallejo. He spoke for nearly an hour with energy and passion, saying his political revolution can succeed just as the right for women to vote, a $15 minimum wage, and gay marriage have succeeded.
"Our vision is an America of social justice, racial justice, economic justice racial justice and environmental justice," Sanders said.
Many people in the crowd had waited hours and traveled a distance to hear Sanders speak. One volunteer, Matt Paine, came from Bend, Oregon hoping his wife's handmade Bernie buttons will help Sanders win in California.
'This is the first time that I've really said this is someone that I believe," Paine said.
"I’m super excited," said Inderadeep Gill, 20, a first-time voter who said he'd convinced his family to switch their support from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders.
Bernie believers lined up early, thrilled that Sanders decided to stop in Vallejo, a city recovering from bankruptcy.
"Some of the challenges that we're going through in America are epitomized right here in this community. And there's a great need to rebuild infrastructure, invest in communities of color, communities that have lost their jobs. This is the place, this is ground zero really,” said Nils Palsson of Cobb, who was elected to be a Bernie delegate at the Philadelphia Democratic convention.
"I'm being able to afford less and less things, my money is going away. My family, there have been some deaths in my family and medical expenses have siphoned everything out," said Justin Thompson, of Benicia.
Campaign volunteers circulated with voter registration cards, reminding people that the deadline to register is May 23rd.
"I just moved and I want to make sure that I can vote," said Bo Bixler, South San Francisco
California is key to Sanders' campaign, particularly because voters who indicate they have "no party preference" can cast a ballot in the Democratic primary.
During the rally, the crowd jeered as a plane flew overhead with a sign saying, ‘Bernie's done. Vote Trump’.
One Trump supporter brought a sign.
"I live in Vallejo, Bernie Sanders is in Vallejo, I wanted to show that Trump's in Vallejo too, he said pointing to his homemade sign."
Sanders had a message for supporters and the Democratic Party.
"Together we must defeat Trump. Together, we are the campaign to do it," Sanders said.
"He's really genuine. He's the real-est I've seen out of all the presidential candidates," said Carolina Rodriguez of Suisun.
"Super excited, super juiced I got to sit behind him on the podium with my friends and my cousin," said Elisha Richardson of Vallejo.
The challenge for the Sanders campaign is whether they can harness that energy leading into the June 7th California primary.