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Bernie Sanders Only 2016 Candidate Drawing Tens of Thousands to Rallies

© AP Photo / David BeckerDemocratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Friday, June 19, 2015, in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Friday, June 19, 2015, in Las Vegas - Sputnik International
A self-described socialist, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has just set a new record for the largest political event of the 2016 presidential contest at a campaign rally in Portland, Oregon.

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Roughly 9,000 people gathered around the Moda Center on Sunday in Portland for Sanders’ campaign rally. And these were just the people who couldn’t get in. The large arena itself was packed with an estimated 19,000 people, as the remaining thousands were directed to overflow areas to listen to the Senator on loudspeakers outside.

This brought the total number of attendees to 28,000, breaking Sanders’ own records as his populist message continues to draw in larger and larger crowds.

"Whoa. This is an unbelievable turnout," Sanders said after taking the podium at Moda Center. "Portland, you have done it better than anyone else!"

For months, Sanders has been attracting an overflow of crowds at campaign rallies across the country, including events held in conservative states like Texas and Arizona. The continued upward trend in turnout and both state and national polling has reflected the growing resonance of the Vermont Senator’s populist message, centered on an agenda of challenging the economic and political status quo.

During his campaign, the presidential hopeful has vowed to take on the "billionaire class," take money out politics, fight corporate greed, and combat climate change.

Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for a portrait before an interview, Wednesday May 20, 2015, in Washington. - Sputnik International
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'"Almost all the wealth is held by a small handful of people and together, we are going to change that," Sanders said at Sunday’s rally, Common Dreams reported. Adding that he wanted to end corporate tax breaks and break up major Wall Street financial institutions, he said "if they’re too big to fail, they’re too big to exist!"

Sanders’ large crowds have become a huge talking point for political pundits, as the Independent senator continues to attract more people than Hillary Clinton, his contender for the Democratic Presidential nomination. So far, Clinton’s largest campaign event has gathered an estimated 5,500 people, a far cry from the crowds Sanders draws in.

"He listens I think, more than she does," Claire Met, who attended Sunday’s rally, told CNN. "She seems more out of touch."

"I appreciate his honestness and his frankness," Brian Foren, another attendee said. "She has a lot of baggage and I worry that her baggage might cost us the election."

Mara Jacqueline Willaford, left, holds her fist overhead as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves to greet the crowd before speaking at a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. - Sputnik International
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Meanwhile, after his Saturday address in the University of Washington, Seattle was interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters, Sanders’ campaign has added a "Racial Justice" tab to his website as a new campaign issue.

"There is no candidate who will fight harder to end institutional racism in this country and to reform our broken criminal justice system," Sanders said at Sunday’s rally, adding that "bringing people together" was at the core of his campaign.

Sanders also released an updated issue statement on Sunday, in which he detailed the need to address the "four central types of violence waved against black and brown Americans: physical, political, legal and economic."

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