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Clinton Childhood Friend Part Of Historic Nomination; Some Sanders Supporters Walk Out

Illinois delegation sign at DNC in Philadelphia.
Amanda Vinicky
/
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

For the first time … a major party has nominated a woman for President. Hillary Clinton officially became Democrats’ nominee Tuesday night at the party’s national convention in Philadelphia.

State delegations to the convention took turns casting their votes.

When  it wasw Illinois' turn, party chairman Michael Madigan got things started by introducing the with a nod to its Democratic heavyweights, like President Barack Obama. Then Madigan passed off the microphone to Bernie Sanders’ state director Clem Balanoff.

"Illinois proudly casts for a true progressive and the father of the new political revolution, 74 votes for Bernie Sanders," he said.

Credit Amanda Vinicky
Betsy Eberly has been friends with Hillary Clinton since middle school.

 But it was Hillary Clinton who won Illinois’ primary, and a friend she’d grown up with in the suburbs of Chicago, Betsy Eberly, awarded those delegates.

“In honor of Dorothy and Hugh’s daughter and my sweet friend (I know you’re watching) this one’s for you, Hill. Ninety- eight votes. Yes.”

With that, it was Indiana’s turn.

In the end, the final delegate tally gave Clinton 2,838 votes.

Regina McDonald, a Bernie Sanders delegate from Wheaton, walked out of the arena in protest of Clinton's nomination. “I feel that she’s part of the corruption, and I’m against corruption," McDonald said. "I’m against it. And Bernie should be the nominee. He should be the nominee. But it was stolen.”

Sanders state organizer Dan Johnson says the movement was able to get so far because of Sanders's appeal to independents.

Credit Amanda Vinicky
Dan Johnson, an Illinois organizer for Bernie Sanders.

"He attracts the people that are not going to vote the party ticket, they just will not," Johnson said Tuesday night. "And so I don't think that it's a sign of party disunity. It is rather a sign that Bernie's coalition was unique. Most presidential campaigns don't attract people that for decades reject The Party as a vehicle for implementing policies, as inherently flawed. And Bernie did."

Johnson says he'll spend the next 100 days trying to convince those voters to get on board with Clinton, but it's not a failure if all of them don't. 

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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