Top Bernie Sanders Staffers Quit Campaign Ahead Of California Primary

More staffers have left the Bernie Sanders campaign in the last few days, and as of today, the campaign’s director of technology joins that list.

After Sanders’ fundraising slowed earlier this month, hundreds of field staffers were let go by the campaign. Just last week, Bernie Sanders lost his California campaign director. California is cited by the Sanders campaign as a potential turning point for the Vermont senator, who could score a big victory and potentially turn the tide against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

According to Politico, key Sanders staffers left the campaign this week, including the campaign’s director of technology and members of Bernie Sanders’ original senior leadership team working on the ground in California.

Zach Schneider, one of the Bernie Sanders campaign’s tech staffers, quit last Friday after spending six months with the campaign. Schneider was in charge of the “Text For Bernie” program, which allowed volunteers to send text messages to targeted individuals. It was a project Schneider worked on for the Sanders campaign, but the in-house text messaging app was abruptly canceled.

“Once that happened, I didn’t really have a lot to do on the campaign,” said Zach Schneider, a former Bernie Sanders staffer who left after his project was scrapped.

After Bernie Sanders’ California director, Michael Ceraso, left last week, two other key Bernie staffers were reportedly let go, leaving the campaign’s California team severely short-handed. Paul Betancourt, Bernie Sanders’ California operations director, and Masha Mendieta, the director of constituency outreach, left the Sanders campaign shortly after Ceraso.

The California primary isn’t until June 7, so Bernie’s got quite a bit of time to make up for any losses in the polls, but with so many members of his key California staff either being laid off or quitting voluntarily, the campaign’s chances are looking grim, according to media observers.

According to Politico, the Sanders campaign is pushing hard in California, with Bernie spending more and more time in the state, attending rallies and firing up his supporters, but he still lags behind Hillary Clinton in statewide polls. California could be a real turning point for Sanders if he’s able to secure a major victory against Hillary Clinton.

After Saturday’s Nevada Democratic Convention, Bernie has faced criticism for his supporters’ actions – namely the threats and allegedly violent behavior of Sanders’ supporters at the convention. Sanders supporters, upset by the results of the Nevada convention, reportedly vented their frustration by chanting and threatening members of the Nevada Democratic Party.

Sanders issued a press release today condemning violence but reiterating that his supporters have been, thus far, nonviolent. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid spoke with the Washington Post today and stated the Nevada convention chaos would be a “test of leadership” for Bernie Sanders.

“I laid out to him what happened in Las Vegas. I wanted to make sure that he understands, that he heard what went on there – the violence and all the other bad things that happened there. He said he condemns that, and I’m confident he does,” said Senator Harry Reid.

Sanders’ statement largely condemned the violence at the rally, but for the most part, the Vermont senator laid the blame at the feet of the Nevada Democratic Convention. Sanders claimed the convention “used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.”

“The Democratic Party has a choice, it can open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change. Or the party can choose to maintain its status quo structure, remain dependent on big-money campaign contributions and be a party with limited participation,” said Bernie Sanders.

Given recent staff losses and withering criticism from within his own party after the events of the Nevada Democratic Convention, does Bernie still have a path to victory?

[Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images]

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