TRENTON – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold a campaign rally with Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday at Rutgers University, the latest in a string of national Democrats lending a hand to the campaign.

Sanders, an independent from Vermont who made two strong bids for the Democratic nomination for president, tweeted an announcement about the get-out-the-vote rally Tuesday.

A specific location hasn’t been announced, but an online posting by the New Jersey Democratic State Committee says it will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the Rutgers-New Brunswick in an outdoor location. It’s free but tickets are required, as is proof of vaccination or a Rutgers student ID.

The Murphy campaign lists the start time for event at 6:45 p.m.

In a sense, it’s an odd pairing, with Sanders the nation’s best-known democratic socialist and Murphy a former Goldman Sachs investment banker. But Murphy has enacted liberal social and tax policies, and in an article last week The Nation said he might be the most progressive governor in America.

The visit follows recent ones by President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as others in recent months by members of Congress and Biden’s Cabinet.

Republicans said the rally with Sanders is a sign that Murphy is desperate, with polls that once indicated he had a comfortable advantage now showing a single-digit race.

“With just one week left, Murphy is bringing in Sen. Bernie Sanders to see if he can work his magic to turn out a base that seems less than enthusiastic to go to the polls for him,” said Alex Wilkes, communications director for the New Jersey Republican State Committee.

“Obama, Biden, Sanders in one week?” she said. “The word ‘panicked’ comes to mind.”

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com.

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