Jan 21, 2015 9:57 PM

Sanders opens up on possible 2016 bid

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD - Sen. Bernie Sanders says he's giving "very serious consideration" to running for the White House.

"For a decision of that magnitude and what it means to one's family and friends, one has to make sure you can do it well. We are reaching out all over the country to determine if we can put together a grassroots organization," added the independent senator from Vermont, on a conference call Wednesday night with some 1,800 progressive activists.

"We have to determine what kind of support is out there and if there is a willingness to mix it up with the big money interests," added Sanders to members of the progressive group Democracy for America.

Sanders told those on the call that he hasn't decided yet on whether he'd run for the Democratic presidential primary or if he'd make a bid for the White House as an independent. But Sanders added that if he did indeed launch a campaign, he wouldn't do to just to be a "spoiler."

Late last year DFA polled it's nearly one million members about which potential candidate the group should back in the 2016 Democratic primaries. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a rock star among progressives, came in first with 42% of vote. But Sanders came in second at 24%, a point ahead of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who's considered the overwhelming favorite to win the nomination if she runs, as many expect.

DFA, which was created out of the remnants of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's failed bid for the 2004 Democratic nomination, has teamed up with MoveOn.org for a "Run Warren Run" campaign, holding events in Iowa and this past weekend in Manchester. But with Warren repeatedly saying she isn't running, progressives unhappy with the prospect of Clinton as the party's nominee, could flock to Sanders or Martin O'Malley, who Wednesday finished serving two terms as Maryland governor and is considering a White House run.

DFA spokesman Neil Sroka, discussing the nearly hour-long call, told NH1 that Wednesday night's turnout clearly illustrates how intrigued Democracy for America members, in New Hampshire and across the country, are by the idea of ‘America's Senator' entering the 2016 race for President. A discussion of the needs of American middle class and working families between Senator Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and other potential candidates in the Granite State would be a Democratic primary where populist progressive values would be undeniably front and center."

Sanders, who says he'll decide on a White House bid by March, made numerous trips this past autumn to the first-in-the-nation primary state.


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