Progressive champion and two-time presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announces re-election bid

Saying that “today I am announcing my intention to seek another term” in the Senate, longtime independent Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday formally launched his bid for re-election.

The 82-year-old progressive champion who caucuses with the Democrats is running for a fourth six-year term representing the blue state of Vermont in the Senate.

Sanders, the runner-up for the 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential nominations, is the chair of the Senate’s top health care committee, a senior member on both the Budget and Veterans committees, and is part of the Democrats’ leadership team in the chamber. 

“I have been, and will be if re-elected, in a strong position to provide the kind of help Vermonters need in these difficult times,” Sanders touted in an on-camera announcement posted on social media.

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Bernie Sanders during hearing

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill, June 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Sanders emphasized that “in recent years, working together, we have made important progress in addressing some very serious challenges. But much, much more needs to be done if we are to become the state and the nation our people deserve.”

The senator, who has long worked to push the Democratic Party to the left, pushed for trillions in spending during the first two years of President Biden’s administration, as the nation rebounded from the coronavirus pandemic. But his efforts to pass legislation expanding Medicare and weakening the filibuster were unsuccessful.

But Sanders has also worked to seek compromise with more moderate members of the Democratic conference and at times with the GOP minority.

While a Biden ally, Sanders has been a vocal critic of the White House and Democrats in recent months over their push to provide aid to Israel as it battles Hamas in the war in Gaza.

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Sanders acknowledged that “Israel had the absolute right to defend itself from this terrorist attack,” as he pointed to the bloody October attack by Hamas that left of 1,200 Israelis dead.

“But it did not and does not have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people,” he added, as he pointed to the Israeli war in Gaza that has reportedly left over 34,000 Palestinians dead. “U.S. tax dollars should not be going to the extremist Netanyahu government to continue its devastating war against the Palestinian people.”

Sanders, a former Socialist mayor of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, later served in the House of Representatives before winning election to the Senate in 2006.

He was narrowly edged by Hillary Clinton in a marathon and divisive 2016 Democratic presidential primary battle, and was the last candidate standing against Biden in the race for the 2020 nomination.

Sanders in Nevada

Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in Las Vegas on  Feb. 21, 2020, ahead of the Democratic presidential caucuses. (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)

Democrats currently control the U.S. Senate with a 51-49 majority, but Republicans are looking at a favorable Senate map this year, with Democrats defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs. 

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Three of those seats are in red states that former President Trump carried in 2020 – Ohio, Montana and West Virginia, where Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is not running for re-election. And five more are in key general election battleground states.

Democrats are also defending an open seat in blue Maryland, where popular former two-term Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is running for the Senate.

Bernie Sanders during hearing

Sen. Bernie Sanders has been critical of the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s war against Hamas. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

With Sanders running for re-election, Vermont’s seat is not considered in play and he’s expected to easily win another term.

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Republican Gerald Malloy, who lost the 2022 election in Vermont, is running again.

Framing his re-election effort, Sanders highlighted what’s at stake.

“There are very difficult times for our country and in world. And, in many ways, this 2024 election is the most consequential election in our lifetimes. Will the United States continue to even function as a democracy, or will we move to an authoritarian form of government?” the senator asked. 

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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