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Sen. Bernie Sanders (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. 

{mosads}Sanders will be the first Democrat to formally challenge Hillary Clinton 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 Warren (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. 

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