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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., plans to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and appear with him at an event this weekend, The USA TODAY Network has learned.
A person with knowledge of the plans confirmed the endorsement. The Washington Post had first reported the planned endorsement.
Nina Turner, a former state senator and current Sanders campaign national co-chair, said to The USA TODAY Network that Ocasio-Cortez was returning the favor for the groundwork Sanders' campaign had laid in 2016.
"So the foundation that he laid in 2016 allowed for candidates to stand up and be bold and run their race," Turner said. "This is coming full circle. One person doesn't make or break a campaign, but the level of excitement, it's going to take it to the next level for us."
Later in the evening, Rep. Ilhan Omar, another member of the group of progressive House freshmen colloquially known as "the Squad" announced her endorsement of Sanders.
Omar cited Sanders' leadership of a "working class movement to defeat Donald Trump," and his leadership on other major progressive issues – "And it’s why I believe Bernie Sanders is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump in 2020," she said in a release.
Sanders had promoted the rally, which will take place in Queens, New York, during the debate, along with the promise of a "special guest."
Ocasio-Cortez's district includes part of Queens, though the rally would take place right outside her district. The two also interacted on Twitter during the debate.
"Tax the rich," she tweeted, during a debate over income inequality.
The Sanders campaign then quoted her tweet with the comment, "When we are in the White House, that is exactly what we will do."
The New York congresswoman and liberal firebrand was an organizer for Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign when the senator's insurgent campaign in the Democratic primary caught fire against establishment pick Hillary Clinton.
The endorsement by the outspoken progressive could help the Sanders campaign, which has recently lagged in polls amid the rise of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and questions about Sanders' health after he had a heart attack.
Contributing: Ledyard King, USA TODAY; Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati Enquirer
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Democratic primary: AOC to endorse Bernie Sanders for president