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 SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Krystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all 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 HarrisTwo former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Strippers, 'Hustlers' and the Democratic debates 2020 Dems honor Emily Clyburn MORE (D-Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Two former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Strippers, 'Hustlers' and the Democratic debates MORE (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandTwo years after Maria, Puerto Rico awaits disaster funds Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' MORE (D-N.Y.) and a handful of others.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, mounted an insurgent challenge to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGiuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it Sanders hits 1 million donors Democrats will not beat Trump without moderate policy ideas 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.