Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced today he will run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, making him the second Democrat* to officially join the race and the fifth overall. The New York Times reports this morning on Sanders relatively low-key announcement:
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, announced Thursday that he was running for president as a Democrat, injecting a progressive voice into the contest and providing Hillary Rodham Clinton with her first official challenger for the party’s nomination.
Avoiding the fanfare that several Republicans have chosen so far when announcing their candidacies, Mr. Sanders issued a statement to supporters that laid out his goals for reducing income inequality, addressing climate change and scaling back the influence of money in politics...
Today's announcement came through a statement released to his supporters, and larger, more formal announcement is scheduled in Burlington, Vermont for May 26.
Over at CNN.com there is a story that delves further into some of the challenges Sanders will likely face as a candidate and where potential support for his candidacy could come from:
...many of his views fit with the Democratic left, a constituency in which Sanders has found a small yet devout following. Sanders and his top advisers hope that group of voters will propel his dark horse candidacy. Though Hillary Clinton is the dominant frontrunner, many in the progressive left of the party think she's too moderate and are clamoring for a different candidate to support...
...He also starts with a small campaign infrastructure, largely the remnants of his past Senate runs, and is primarily being advised by Tad Devine, a Democratic political consultant who worked on the presidential campaign for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. At an event this month in New Hampshire where Sanders leaned heavily into a presidential bid, the signs outside the house party touted his 2012 Senate re-election bid.
From the outset of his campaign, it appears money will be Sander's biggest issue. The senator has regularly conceded in the last month that he would not be able to raise near the money Clinton will bring in.
"To run a credible campaign in this day and age, you do need a whole lot of money," Sanders said. "Whether the magic number is $200 million, it is $150 million, it is a lot of money, but even with that, you would be enormously outspent by the Koch Brother candidates and the other candidates who will likely spend, in the final analysis, over $1 billion, if not two."
Despite being a champion for many on the left, Sanders has been somewhat left out in the cold by big liberal organizations like MoveOn.org and Democracy for America, who have spent the last few months unsuccessfully urging Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president...
Sanders entry into the race may give him a boost, as Democrats who have been leery of Hillary Clinton finally have an official challenger to rally around. Whether he can maintain that will depend on who else enters the race.
*Technically Sanders is an independent who calls himself a "democratic socialist," but since he's seeking the Democratic nomination he'll be considered a Democrat going forward.