Democratic retirements could make a tough midterm year even worse
Sanders set for multistate midterm campaign trip with notable stops in Iowa, Nevada
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will hit the campaign trail for a nine-day trip next week to drum up support for Democrats heading into November's midterms.
The trip will include stops in several states that would be crucial to a successful bid for the party's presidential nomination in 2020.
The itinerary, which was shared with The Washington Post by a Sanders aide, includes multiple stops in Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, all states with early primaries or caucuses in the presidential primary.
Sanders finished second to Hillary Clinton in all three of those contests in the 2016 cycle but came particularly close in Iowa.
Sanders will try to boost Democrats in relatively competitive Senate races in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona while potentially laying the framework to try to win back those states in a potential campaign of his own. Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as fellow Rust Belt state Pennsylvania, voted for the Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential election, the first time those states went red since the 1980s.
Sanders also is planning to travel to Colorado and California.
The trip is intended to boost Senate and House candidates as well as gubernatorial hopefuls.
The independent senator, who ignited a rise in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party with his 2016 bid, is facing pressure to throw his hat back into the ring again in 2020. He is also up for reelection this year, but his race is not considered competitive.
Sanders would likely be joining a crowded Democratic field should he seek the party's nomination in 2020, and he is not the first to make notable visits to important primary states.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has made trips to Iowa, Florida, South Carolina and a handful of other states. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has visited Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has visited Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has made trips to Florida, Virginia and Ohio.
The Democratic field will likely see a double-digit number of candidates seeking to please the rebellious progressive wing of the party and prove their anti-Trump bona fides, but also retake longtime Democratic strongholds that Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Sanders could potentially have an edge over his would-be competitors as the original darling of the progressive wing and by boosting 2016 primary and caucus results that had him competitive in several states that ended up flipping from blue to red in the general election.
Sanders's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.