Bernie Sanders has focused his campaign on being an “outsider”, a candidate outside the Democratic Party establishment. As a result, established officials within the party have not been eager to give him their endorsement, opting instead to show their support for Hillary Clinton. In fact, Clinton has gathered endorsements from approximately forty Senators. Recently, Bernie Sanders got his first Senate endorsement from Jeff Merkley.
Merkley is a current Senator from Oregon. His endorsement is not a complete surprise, as he is one of the more progressive Senators on the Democratic side. In a New York Times piece, he explained his support for Sanders. "It has been noted that Bernie has an uphill battle ahead of him to win the Democratic nomination. However, his leadership on these issues and his willingness to fearlessly stand up to the powers that be has galvanized a grass-roots movement. People know that we don't just need better policies, we need a wholesale rethinking of how our economy and our politics work, and for whom they work."
With the endorsement, Merkley was careful to not have any disparaging remarks for Clinton. He showed support for her as well should she receive the nomination (and the contrast with the Republican Party), stating, "Unlike the Republican primary circus, Democrats have a choice between two candidates with lifelong track records of fighting for economic opportunity and who are committed to America's being a force for peace and stability and who are eager to meet today's challenges and move our country forward for all its citizens, together."