Sanders to launch presidential bid
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOmar: Biden not the candidate to 'tackle a lot of the systematic challenges that we have' Seven takeaways from a busy Democratic presidential campaign weekend in Iowa Democrats go all out to court young voters for 2020 MORE (I-Vt.) will officially launch a bid for the White House on Thursday.

A Democratic source close to the senator confirmed to The Hill that Sanders will announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in a statement later this week, before heading back to his home state for a campaign kick-off event early next month. 

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Sanders will be the first Democrat to formally challenge Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats go all out to court young voters for 2020 Pelosi: Whistleblower complaint 'must be addressed immediately' Election meddling has become the new normal of US diplomacy MORE for the Democratic nomination, but he faces long odds. 

The former secretary of State has a huge lead over the field of potential Democratic contenders, taking 62 percent support in the latest Fox News poll released last week.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenUnited Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Omar: Biden not the candidate to 'tackle a lot of the systematic challenges that we have' Seven takeaways from a busy Democratic presidential campaign weekend in Iowa MORE (D-Mass.), who insists that she’s not running for president, came in second at 12 percent, followed by Vice President Biden at 9 percent and Sanders at 4 percent.

Still, many Democrats will be happy to see Clinton get at least a token challenger. They believe it could keep Clinton sharp as she prepares for the general election, and Sanders is a liberal favorite who will challenge her on policy issues from the left.

Vermont Public Radio first reported his decision. 

—This post was updated at 5:15 p.m.