Bernie Sanders Will Run As Independent In 2018

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has stated that he will run for re-election as an independent in 2018.

Sanders announced the decision in an interview on Oct. 22, saying he would continue to run as an independent despite pressure to join the Democratic Party, according the The Hill.

"I am an independent and I have always run in Vermont as an independent, while I caucus with the Democrats in the United States Senate," Sanders said. "That's what I've been doing for a long time and that's what I'll continue to do."

Sanders had previously run in the 2016 presidential election primaries for the Democratic nomination, but lost to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Sanders, a former mayor of Burlington, Vermont, is serving his second as a senator after he was re-elected in 2012.

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Sanders' comments about running as an independent came after a speech in New Hampshire. The trip was his second in as many months to the neighboring state, leading some to speculate on whether he would make another run for president in 2020, according to HuffPost.

An early poll from the University of New Hampshire showed favorable odds for Sanders in a pool of potential Democratic primary candidates -- the Vermont senator had 31 percent of support from Democratic voters, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts behind him with 24 percent and 13 percent support, respectively.

During his Oct. 22 speech, Sanders focused on a number of issues that he had previously covered during his presidential primary campaign, including a $15-an-hour minimum wage and tuition-free college education, stating that these platforms were "not radical ideas," reports Fox News.

He also spoke about health care.

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"It seems clear to me that we have one system that works well, and that's called Medicare," said Sanders. "Now is the time to expand Medicare for all and create a single-payer health care system."

He also touched on the Republican tax plan, saying that some of the tax proposals from the GOP were a "moral obscenity."

"I think we go to the American people," said Sanders when asked what he would do to stop the GOP's tax plans. He said that the proposal could be taken down "just as we were able to defeat their efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act."

According to Stafford County Democratic Committee Chairwoman Ellen Phillips, Sanders' appearance was the first time a non-Democrat had headlined one of the committee's fundraising dinners.

"It's been an issue for me," said Phillips. "He's going to make a lot of money for our candidates and that's a good thing."

Phillips said she had voted for Sanders in the previous presidential primary, but voiced concern about his age in relation to running again in 2020. Sanders is 76.

"I love what Bernie says. I love the fact that he gets people energized," said Phillips. "I love the fact that he gets people out to vote. If no other candidate can do that, then yes, I'd like to see Bernie run again, but I'd like to see him with a very young vice president."

Sources: The Hill, HuffPost, Fox News / Featured Image: Phil Roeder/Flickr / Embedded Images: Phil Roeder/Flickr (2)

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