Eleven Democratic contenders for the White House will visit midtown Manhattan this week to campaign at the National Action Network convention hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton, an annual event seen as essential for outreach to black voters. .
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, are among those in the packed 2020 presidential field who will make their cases to conventiongoers from Wednesday to Friday.
Some, including Sanders, Harris and Gillibrand, have spoken at National Action Network conventions in years past.
The convention offers "a unique opportunity for candidates to gauge how viable their campaigns are with black voters," said longtime Sharpton communications adviser Rachel Noerdlinger.
“Over the years, it has proved to be an opportunity for candidates to address a large base of black voters and influencers on a range of issues from criminal justice reform to voting rights and reparations,” she said.
Sharpton, a civil rights activist, himself was a Democratic presidential candidate in 2004.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is not scheduled to speak at the convention and has not yet declared his candidacy, but he has the highest support among black voters, a Quinnipiac University poll of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters showed last week.
Biden has 44 percent support in the poll among black voters, compared with other names being floated for president, according to the national poll. Sanders has 17 percent, O'Rourke 16 percent and Harris 8 percent, it showed.
Other 2020 presidential candidates to speak at the convention at the Sheraton Times Square are: Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Among the other national political figures who are slated to attend are: former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/Queens).