By Kathleen Gray

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed got another big get on Tuesday when 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, said he will come to Michigan to campaign for him just two days before the Aug. 7 primary election.

Sanders, who is actually an Independent who narrowly won Michigan's presidential primary in 2016 before losing the nomination to Hillary Clinton, will attend rallies in Ypsilanti and Detroit on Sunday with El-Sayed.

It will be the second big name liberal to try to give a boost to El-Sayed, who has been mired in third place in the polls and lagging in fundraising behind Democratic challengers former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer and retired businessman Shri Thanedar.

On Saturday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described Democratic socialist who beat an incumbent Democratic congressman in New York last month, attracted big crowds at rallies with El-Sayed in Grand Rapids, Flint, Detroit and Ypsilanti.

"Bernie Sanders is one of the country's most important political leaders and the progressive standard-bearer, and I'm thankful that the senator has recognized that there is only one progressive running for governor of Michigan," El-Sayed said in a statement Tuesday evening.

Whitmer has gotten most of the institutional support from the Democratic Party, including most of the major labor organizations, the five members of the state's congressional delegation, as well as Wayne County officials and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. And Thanedar had used his own money -- more than $10 million -- to blanket the airwaves with television ads to boost his name identification.

But it's been El-Sayed who has attracted the enthusiasm from the liberal ranks of the Democratic Party.

He'll appear at rallies with Sanders at 3 p.m. Sunday at Cobo Center in Detroit and in Ypsilanti at a time and venue to be announced.

(c)2018 the Detroit Free Press