A powerful Minnesota progressive group has endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the state's upcoming Democratic presidential primary.

TakeAction Minnesota announced its backing for the Vermont senator on Wednesday morning. It is the first time the group has endorsed a candidate for president.

"We are excited to build with a candidate who is already investing in our multiracial, working class movement to take on corporate power in our democracy and do politics better," said Elianne Farhat, the group's executive director. "Bernie's politics are rooted in human dignity and justice."

TakeAction is a nonprofit group that bills its work as community organizing, coalition building, policy research and development, public education and civic engagement. It has 6,000 dues-paying members, a mailing list of some 50,000 people, and a network of 20 institutional members that includes labor, social justice and other progressive groups.

"TakeAction Minnesota is driving progressive change across the state," Sanders said in a statement provided by his campaign, citing the group's work to guarantee health care for all and a living wage for workers. "We are proud to work together with this incredible organization as we build a diverse, working class movement to achieve economic, racial, social and environmental justice for every American."

Home state Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (who recently dropped from the race and endorsed Warren), also were considered for the TakeAction endorsement.

On the campaign trail, Klobuchar has raised doubts about some of the group's key position, including "Medicare for All" and debt-free college and loan forgiveness plans offered by Sanders and Warren. In the message to its members, the group listed its top policy priorities: "Medicare for All. A Green New Deal. End the Prison-Industrial Complex. Level the playing field for farmers. College for All. Unions for All. Homes for All. Peace and diplomacy."

"Bernie Sanders earned an overwhelming majority of votes on the first ballot" when the group's governing body met to decide on its endorsement, according to a notice to TakeAction members distributed Wednesday.

Sanders is looking for a repeat of his victory over Hillary Clinton in Minnesota's 2016 presidential caucus. The state's switch from a caucus to a primary is likely to mean participation by a larger group of voters, which means TakeAction's grassroots network and other organizing resources could be invaluable for Sanders in getting out the vote for Minnesota's March 3 presidential primary. Early voting for the primary starts Friday.

While it's the first time the group has endorsed for president, it often weighs in on state and local races in Minnesota. In 2018, TakeAction endorsed Erin Murphy in the Democratic race for governor, but she lost the primary to Gov. Tim Walz.

Klobuchar has locked up support from most of Minnesota's prominent elected Democrats, though Sanders has picked off a few prominent backers — most notably Attorney General Keith Ellison and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Patrick Condon • 202-662-7452