Bernie Sanders Is Trying to Be a Kingmaker in Key Congressional Races

The progressive senator has stumped for a handful of candidates in other states.

Sanders did not miss a beat. He turned Ryan’s words right around and used them as a rallying cry, giving his supporters a tangible reason to back other progressives and Democrats running for office this fall.

Last week, in just three days, the Vermont Senator brought in over $2.4 million dollars to help four Democratic Senate candidates, his staff says, with a fundraising email that pointed directly to Ryan’s comments. Those candidates were Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, Deborah Ross in North Carolina, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, and Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania. "#ThanksPaul, for helping to continue the political revolution," Sanders and his team tweeted Monday.

Here’s a look at candidates from several states the celebrity progressive is backing:

Catherine Cortez Masto (U.S. Senate, D-Nevada)

Maggie Hassan (U.S. Senate, D-New Hampshire)

Zephyr Teachout (U.S. House of Representatives, D-NY 19th District)

Sanders has also used his star-power to fundraise for several relative political rookies, including Teachout running for Congress in a district south of Albany, NY along the Hudson River. The area is not known for being particularly left-of-center and the congressional seat is currently held by a Republican. Nonetheless, Sanders took a chance on Teachout, a fiery progressive and law professor and backed her in primary race.

"Sanders’ campaign really shook up with country on money in politics and on trade –- two issues I care a lot about," she told ABC News during an interview this week. "I was so proud to have had his endorsement. I was proud to have endorsed him early on and it has been terrific to see the young people, especially, who have come in and gotten excited about politics because of Sanders and then have gotten engaged in our campaign."

Just this week, the National Republican Congressional Committee posted an ad blasting Teachout for being too close to Sanders. The ad says her similarities to the Vermont senator mean she does not accurately represent the district. "Teachout loves socialist senator Bernie Sanders," the ad says.

With two weeks left, Teachout described the current status of her race as a "tie," but said with all of the support she has been receiving from issue-based activists, she was optimistic she would pull out a win.

Pramila Jayapal (U.S. House of Representatives, D-WA 7th District)

Jayapal, another lesser-known political recruit, from Washington State, was one of the first candidates to receive Sanders’ endorsement. With his backing and early fundraising support she won her crowded primary handily. The next day, Sanders said in a statement, "When you think of the political revolution, I want you to think about Pramila." Sanders has since traveled to Washington State to campaign alongside Jayapal.

Jayapal immigrated to the U.S. from India to attend college and has spent her life organizing anti-hate and anti-discrimination campaigns. As a Washington State Senator she introduced legislation to increase the local minimum wage. With Washington’s top-two primary system, she is actually running against another Democrat who also considers himself a progressive. The race is very close.