In December we reported that Bernie Sanders was getting ready to run for president again. And according to new reports, it appears that the time has come for the Vermont senator to make his formal announcement.
The reports, coming from Sanders’ office this weekend, say that he will formally launch his 2020 campaign committee in just a few days. And they also report that he has now finished recording his campaign video that he will use to publicize the rollout of his 2020 candidacy.
Sanders’ anticipated announcement is part of a so-called soft launch of a campaign, one person familiar with the plans told The Hill.
POLITICO reported last week that the Sanders team has been interviewing people for top staff positions. Chuck Rocha, a political consultant who advised Sanders’ 2016 campaign, is planning to join him again in his second bid for the presidency.
If he forms an exploratory committee, this will allow Sanders to begin laying the groundwork of a campaign by raising money and hiring staff before a formal announcement.
If he jumps into the presidential race, Sanders would join an already crowded field of candidates for the Democratic nomination. Top names who have announced so far include Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Ultimately as many as 20 different Democratic contenders may enter the race.
Sanders is actually a Democratic Socialist instead of a Democrat. He challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 and generated a great deal of interest and enthusiasm. He ultimately fell short of winning the nomination but he did build a huge network of grassroots supporters. His email list of donors from his last campaign will give him a big headstart in raising money for a 2020 campaign.
Since his 2016 run Sanders has been a very influential figure in Democratic politics. Some of his signature policy proposals, such “Medicare for All” and a $15 minimum wage, have gained much support among Democratic lawmakers.
Sanders has also built goodwill around the country as he has campaigned and raised money for many other Democratic candidates during the 2018 midterm elections.
On Friday, Our Revolution, the grass-roots group founded by Sanders after his 2016 presidential bid, announced that it was launching the second phase of its effort to draft the Vermont independent into the 2020 race.
In an email to supporters, David Duhalde, the group’s political director, said that that phase would include “launching direct outreach programs for phone banking, texting, and door knocking,” as well as “Coordinating one-on-one trainings with group leaders and volunteers.”
However, based on these new reports, it appears that drafting the senator will not be necessary as he is already planning to run again. If he does, he will be a powerful figure in setting the terms of the debate in the 2020 campaign.