Bruin Democrats endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for the presidential primary in a tight vote Wednesday night.
About 40 members of the student organization participated in a debate held in Bunche Hall. The room was divided between supporters of Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley. The majority of members debated for Sanders and Clinton, while two members debated for O’Malley.
Sanders won the endorsement 19-18.
Members went to opposite sides of the room and were prompted to make a case to explain why the candidate they support is best qualified to address foreign policy, gender equality, higher education and foreign policy, among other topics.
Karolina Jaremkiewicz, a fourth-year psychology student, supported Sanders during the debate.
Jaremkiewicz said she supports Sanders because she thinks he has consistently supported the middle class. She also said she liked his ability to stand up for issues he believes in.
“He’s been standing alone during so many moments, I like to think that he can stand up to anyone and any Republican,” Jaremkiewicz said.
During the debate, Clinton supporters often brought up her experience as secretary of state as a strength while opposing sides brought into question her recent political scandals, such as using a private email account for professional correspondence.
Clinton supporters also questioned the feasibility of Sanders’ plans to allocate more money to public institutions for higher education. Sanders’ supporters said they think a tax on Wall Street would aid funding for his higher education plan.
Gus Pamungkas, a third-year economics student, delivered the closing remarks in favor of Clinton during the debate.
“She’s actually a moderate Democrat,” Pamungkas said. “I believe in (Sanders’) views, but not that it can be accomplished right now in America.”
In regard to gender equality, members said candidates are similar in attempting to bridge wage gaps and continue support for Planned Parenthood.
Nick Shearin, a third-year political science student and one of two members who debated in favor of O’Malley, said he believed O’Malley to be the best-fit candidate because he protected pro-abortion rights legislation as the governor of Maryland, among other accomplishments.
Bruin Democrats meets every Wednesday in Bunche 3170. In the coming weeks, the group will be discussing endorsements for senatorial candidates.