U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has not ruled out a third run for the White House if President Joe Biden does not run in 2024, according to a top aide’s campaign memo viewed by The Washington Post.
“In the event of an open 2024 Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Sanders has not ruled out another run for president, so we advise that you answer any questions about 2024 with that in mind,” Faiz Shakir, the independent senator from Vermont’s 2020 campaign manager, wrote in the memo to political allies.
The Post reports that “the memo was shared by a person with direct knowledge of its contents on the condition of anonymity because it was not released publicly, and confirmed by a second person with direct knowledge of the contents.”
Sanders spokesperson Mike Casca told the Post that “while it’s frustrating this private memo leaked to the media, the central fact remains true, which is that Sen. Sanders is the most popular officeholder in the country.”
SCOOP: Sen. Bernie Sanders ‘has not ruled out another run’ for president if Biden doesn’t in 2024, a top adviser tells allies in a private memo. https://t.co/J8PeEEStrr— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) April 20, 2022
According to recent YouGov America polling, 80-year-old Sanders is the most popular currently serving politician in the United States, with a 48% positive opinion rating. Biden trails at 42%, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at 38% and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who are tied at 37%.
In April 2020, Sanders ended his second consecutive attempt to represent a party whose establishment was accused of being primarily focused on ensuring that the democratic socialist never became its presidential nominee. The following month, Sanders said there was only a “very, very slim chance” that he would ever run for president again.
Last month, it was reported that key Sanders campaign officials are encouraging Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) to run for president if Biden does not run in 2024.
Addressing the 2022 midterm elections, the memo states that Sanders—who has endorsed progressives running for Congress including Nina Turner in Ohio, Jessica Cisneros in Texas, and Summer Lee in Pennsylvania—”is interested in endorsing more candidates and we’d love your help identifying potential target races.”
“We do understand that corporate-backed campaigns will try to make Sen. Sanders’ endorsement controversial, especially in a Democratic primary,” the memo adds before offering suggested answers to frequently asked questions.
One of those: “Will you support Sanders if he challenges Biden in 2024?”
The suggested response: “Sen. Sanders is focused on helping Joe Biden have a successful presidency. As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, no one fought harder for the president’s policy agenda than Bernie. He traveled to Republican congressional districts last summer to promote Build Back Better. Unfortunately, that legislation was stopped by corporate Democrats.”
On Sunday, Sanders will head to New York City to stand in solidarity with Amazon workers, some of whom recently won and others who are fighting for a union. That same day he’ll head to Richmond, Virginia to congratulate Starbucks employees who won five straight unionization votes on Tuesday.