BENNINGTON — With less than two and a half weeks until the presidential primary election on Super Tuesday, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders supporters have high hopes for his future endeavors.
After Sanders beat former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by 22 points in New Hampshire, fans look forward to how the rest of the race will play out.
Manchester resident and former state representative Jeff Wilson envisions Sanders will do well in the Vermont and Massachusetts primaries, but is unsure of how he will do in southern states.
"I think it's amazing how well Bernie has done. I don't think anyone has anticipated that he would be so competitive at this stage. People have underestimated him," he said. "It's exciting having a local guy in Vermont doing so well at this state. We'll have to see what happens over the next few primaries ... South Carolina will be interesting."
According to National Public Radio, Clinton is largely favored in South Carolina due to her support among African-American voters.
As of Feb. 10, Republican Donald Trump leads the party by five points while Clinton sits ahead of Sanders by 16 points. Sanders seems to appeal to the younger voters as Clinton strives to get their attention, especially from young female voters.
State Rep. Mary Morrissey, R-Bennington, sees the state upholding Sanders, but notes that Clinton's campaign is missing something with the targeted female voters.
"That's something for her campaign to further look into. Obviously there's a message being missed there," she said. "Obviously I think the state will carry very strongly with Senator Bernie."
Wilson, on the other hand, commends the Democrats for working together and speaking on practical issues.
"I think they both do a very good job about speaking to the issues," he said, "but I think Bernie has been instrumental in getting Senator Clinton to talk to progressive oriented issues she would have ignored if it wasn't for him. Both candidates are good, capable people if either one served."
Vermont stands heavily Democratic with 26 legislators and 16 Republican legislators.
State Sen. Richard Sears, D-Bennington, said he plans to vote for Sanders, but thinks that Clinton will beat him to the finish line.
"When I get there [to the polls] I will take the Democratic ballot and vote for Bernie," Sears said. "I have no insight other than watching an occasional news clip and, quite frankly, they [media] seem to be on the Republican side."
Upcoming primary elections:
Feb. 20: Nevada caucas (D), South Carolina (R)
Feb. 23: Nevada caucus (R)
Feb. 27: South Carolina (D)
March 1: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia
March 5: Kansas, Kentucky (R caucus), Louisiana, Maine (R caucus), Nebraska (D caucus)
— Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.