Sanders delegates threaten challenge to Kaine
© Greg Nash

PHILADELPHIA — A group of Democratic delegates backing Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight MORE (I-Vt.) said Monday that they are actively exploring a challenge to Sen. Tim KaineTimothy Michael KaineWeek ahead: Crunch time for defense bill’s cyber reforms | Equifax under scrutiny Insurer Anthem to cover bare ObamaCare counties in Virginia Senate votes down Paul's bid to revoke war authorizations MORE’s (Va.) vice presidential nomination.

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"There's serious interest right now and exploration as we speak of a formal challenge with an alternative candidate," said Norman Solomon, a Sanders delegate and national coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network.

The group, which is independent of the Sanders campaign, said it was actively polling its members, which include 1,250 of Sanders’s 1,894 delegates.

The group released a poll earlier this month that found that less than 3 percent of its supporters found Kaine acceptable.

Solomon said he hoped the Democratic National Committee (DNC) releases information within hours on how to submit a challenger to Kaine, which he said would require the signatures of 300 delegates.

He said they have until Wednesday morning to file a challenge to Kaine and stressed that while his group would take any requests from the Sanders campaign under consideration, the delegate group is an independent organization. 

Karen Bernal, a Sanders delegate from California, said presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE needs to "walk the walk" with the progressive wing of the party. 

"Her choice for Tim Kaine speaks so much louder than anything she's said on the campaign trail," she said.

Still, Solomon said, "We're not delusional. We understand Tim Kaine is going to be the vice presidential nominee."

The group hinted that there would likely be protests on the convention floor Monday night but didn't go into specifics.

Monday's press conference comes hours ahead of the formal opening of the party's convention in Philadelphia.

Sanders supporters expressed frustration with the national party Monday after WikiLeaks posted emails showing that top DNC officials apparently worked to undermine the Vermont senator's campaign.

Asked about the potential for protests when DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz us at the podium, Bernal said, “I would be very surprised if you could have a conversation in normal tones.” Wasserman Schultz on Sunday announced that she would resign from her role at the end of the convention.

— This report was updated at 12:35 p.m.