Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) is not going to give the Democratic National Committee his long-sought-after voter data from his grassroots-led 2016 presidential run.
Sanders’ 2016 campaign manager Jeff Weaver said he doesn’t "think you should expect" Sanders to give the Democratic National Committee (DNC) access to his voter data, going as far to say it's a "fantasy," according to Politico.
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"I don’t think you should expect that to happen. If people think the Sanders list is just an ATM, they’re sadly mistaken," Weaver said. "It’s a list of millions of people who are motivated by a certain policy agenda."
"If they think it can be easily transferred, I think it’s a fantasy," Weaver added.
Sanders mounted a surprisingly robust challenge to Hillary Clinton for the party's 2016 nomination, although he ultimately fell short. Hacked DNC emails later revealed party higher-ups preferred Clinton to be the standard-bearer.
Discussing the "Unity Commission's" efforts to bridge wings of the party after the bruising 2016 election, Weaver said there is still a "long way to go" and added that DNC Chairman Tom Perez can do more to "bring in some other voices" into the party.
"We still have a long way to go. We’ve made big steps forward in opening up the party and making the nominating process more democratic," Weaver said. "We’ve also got to make sure that all the different factions of the party are represented at the DNC. Tom can do a little bit more to bring in some other voices."
DNC Vice Chair and New York Assemblyman Michael Blake sees the data as a way to give local candidates more opportunities, calling the withholding "a missed opportunity."
"Not everyone is going to be Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, but for the local candidate for statehouse and the local candidate for city council, having more data gives them more opportunities," Blake said.
Sanders has previously said the list will be used to "strongly support those candidates who are going to take on the issues of income and wealth inequality."