Sanders expected to announce presidential bid as soon as next week

Sanders expected to announce presidential bid as soon as next week
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (I-Vt.) is expected to announce a 2020 presidential bid as soon next week, according to two people familiar with the plans.

Sanders is gearing up to release a video announcing his campaign, the people said. It will be accompanied by a petition seeking 1 million signatures from voters supporting the Vermont senator's White House ambitions.

News that Sanders had already recorded the announcement video was first reported on Saturday by Politico.

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Sanders’s anticipated announcement is part of a so-called soft launch of a campaign, one person familiar with the plans told The Hill.

A spokesperson for Sanders denied on Saturday that the senator was planning for a 2020 announcement next week.

In jumping into the presidential race, Sanders would join an already crowded field of contenders for the Democratic nomination that so far includes Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Overnight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule Democratic senators introduce bill to push ICE to stop 'overuse' of solitary confinement MORE (D-Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators introduce bill to push ICE to stop 'overuse' of solitary confinement Krystal Ball: Patrick's 2020 bid is particularly 'troublesome' for Warren 2020 Democrats demand action on guns after Santa Clarita shooting MORE (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMaloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee She Should Run launches initiative to expand number of women in political process MORE (D-N.Y.) and a handful of others.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, mounted an insurgent challenge to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJordan calls Pelosi accusing Trump of bribery 'ridiculous' DOJ watchdog won't let witnesses submit written feedback on investigation into Russia probe: report What are Republicans going to do after Donald Trump leaves office? MORE for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. While he ultimately fell short in that contest, the progressive firebrand built a vast network of grass-roots supporters and notched wins in a handful of key states, including New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Since then, Sanders has proven to be an influential figure in Democratic politics. Some of the senator’s signature policy proposals, like "Medicare for all" and a $15 minimum wage, have gained traction among Democratic lawmakers. And the senator stumped for a number of Democratic candidates during the 2018 midterm elections.

On Friday, Our Revolution, the grass-roots group founded by Sanders after his 2016 presidential bid, announced that it was launching the second phase of its effort to draft the Vermont Independent into the 2020 race.

In an email to supporters, David Duhalde, the group’s political director, said that that phase would include “launching direct outreach programs for phone banking, texting, and door knocking,” as well as “coordinating one-on-one trainings with group leaders and volunteers.”

Updated at 5:16 p.m.