MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Democratic presidential candidate is hoping to win over voters after an appearance in Minneapolis Sunday morning.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont hosted a town hall meeting on Sunday at the Minneapolis American Indian Center. Sanders is seen as a progressive alternative to the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

While he may not have the money or name recognition as Clinton, he’s hoping to build solid base of Minnesota supporters. For Sen. Sanders, that means starting early. A campaign organizer said as many as 3,000 people had RSVP’d for the event by Sunday morning. It featured an overflow crowd.

We are still a year-and-a-half away from the election and he is the first 2016 presidential candidate to visit Minnesota. Sanders is a second term senator from Vermont.

He’s technically an independent, though caucuses with Democrats and is calling himself a Democratic socialist. Sen. Sanders is focusing on college affordability, climate change and eliminating big money from politics.

“Ordinary people here in Minnesota and around the country are wondering why it is that they are working longer hours for lower wage. Why is it that their kids can’t afford to go to college, why is it that senior citizens are having a hard time surviving on minimum social security benefits and 99 percent of all new income is going to people on top,” Sanders said.

Clinton remains the Democratic front-runner, but recent Gallup polls show her unfavorability among voters is rising. For her challengers, that may be the window of opportunity to chip away at her voter base.

This won’t be Sanders’ only trip to Minnesota between now and the election.

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