Organizing for Bernie group launches to draft Sanders as 2020 White House candidate

A new group called Organizing for Bernie launched this week to draft Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBernie Sanders to sign pledge affirming he will run as a Democrat Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Hillicon Valley: Microsoft reveals new Russian hack attempts | Google failed to disclose hidden microphone | Booker makes late HQ2 bid | Conservative group targets Ocasio-Cortez over Amazon MORE (I-Vt.) to run for president.

The group's goal is to build an organizational structure for Sanders so he can begin campaigning immediately if he declares his candidacy.

“We have two goals,” Rich Pelletier, one of the group’s main organizers, told Rolling Stone in an article published Monday. “One, we want to show the support is there. The second is to begin to do the organizing that is going to need to happen for him to hit the ground running, by the time he announces — if he announces."


Pelletier, who was deputy campaign manager for Sanders in 2016, is one of several senior campaign staffers from the senator’s previous White House bid who will be leading the Colorado-based group.

The group also reportedly includes Sanders’s former campaign director for Colorado and Washington state, Dulce Saenz, and former Colorado Caucus Director Mandy Nunes-Hennessey.

Sanders’s 2016 campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, told Rolling Stone he was aware of the draft campaign.

“I’ve been contacted by a number of people who are wondering, how do we demonstrate to Bernie that he’s got the support of people across the country?” Weaver told the magazine. “Without talking about any particular conversation I’ve had — because I’ve had many — I’ve tried to be encouraging to people and to give whatever advice I can that will help them move forward.”

Weaver said he’s been contacted by groups supporting the Vermont senator’s potential 2020 bid because “they know I’m supportive of him running,” while adding that there’s also “a tremendous amount of grass-roots energy for him.”

Pelletier told the magazine that the aim behind the group is to build the framework for a national organization in “each state, territory and city.”

He also added the group is “an unaffiliated candidate PAC” and is able to “raise money as any other federal PAC can.”

Sanders has appeared near the top of numerous polls for potential 2020 Democratic candidates. In the last presidential election, he lost the Democratic nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it Harris adds key Clinton aide, women of color to 2020 campaign: report Democrats more likely Trump's foil, than to foil Trump MORE.

Sanders said last week that he will "probably" run if he believes he's the best candidate to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE in the general election.