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Bernie Sanders takes progressive message to Northern Virginia | News

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Bernie Sanders takes progressive message to Northern Virginia

MANASSAS, Va. (WUSA9) -- Long-shot Democratic presidential candidate turned early-state frontrunner Bernie Sanders rallied a crowd of more than 3000 supporters in the Northern Virginia suburbs Monday night with a progressive message he said was just and fair, not Utopian.

Sanders called on the crowd to rise up against what he called the "Billionaire class" controlling American politics.

"The only way we win is when tens of millions of Americans stand up and say loudly and clearly: 'enough is enough!'" Sanders told the crowd gathered at the Manassas fairgrounds.

Sanders progressive appeal, focusing on economic issues, but branching off into anti-war, pro-environmental and other liberal causes, would have been familiar to anyone who had heard his stump speech before. Monday's crowd seemed to be a mix of Sanders diehards, and new converts to his cause.

"I didn't even really know who he was until about four months ago," said lifelong Democrat Georgia Brown. "Since then I've been seeing all kinds of things about him. From what I've seen he looks like the only person I would support."

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Sanders siphoning the support of female voters away from the national frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. That phenomenon appeared to be on display among women attending Monday's event as well.

"I'm more in line with what Bernie's doing and where he stands," said Kat Lipsett, who said she supported Clinton in 2008. "There's just something that seems to have changed since she was in the State Department."

Sanders foray into Virginia could be designed to cut into what pundits have described as Clinton's southern state firewall – with a significant amount of delegates available in Southern states all voting March 1st.

Manassas was relatively friendly ground for Sanders, compared to his morning event on the campus of Liberty University, where he faced a skeptical, evangelical audience.

Sanders campaign says his next public event will be later this week in New York City.

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