Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of the most influential voices among young liberals and a rising Democratic star, plans to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president and appear with him at a rally on Saturday, according to two people with knowledge of her plans.

The surprise endorsement is a political coup for Sanders, 78, who has been fading in the polls and has faced growing questions about his age and health. Before Tuesday’s Democratic debate, he had been sidelined from the campaign trail for two weeks by a heart attack.

“We’re looking forward to Saturday,” said Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez. Sanders teased the rally at Tuesday night’s presidential debate, saying he would have a “special guest” appearing with him in New York.

Another person with knowledge of the congresswoman’s plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a decision that has not yet been announced publicly, confirmed the endorsement. Sanders campaign officials declined to comment.

The endorsement could be a blow for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who, like Sanders, is running on a platform of sweeping liberal change and who has emphasized her role as a female pioneer. Ocasio-Cortez had worked as a volunteer organizer for Sanders’s 2016 presidential bid; she was recruited to run for Congress in 2018 by Justice Democrats, a group that grew out of the Sanders campaign.

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