Bernie Sanders might run for president again in 2024 if Joe Biden doesn't, a top advisor says
- A top advisor to Bernie Sanders says the senator "has not ruled out another run for president" in 2024.
- But he would only do it if President Joe Biden opted not to run again.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont may run for president a third time in 2024 if President Joe Biden opts not to run, according to a memo sent to campaigns that he's endorsed.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Faiz Shakir, Sanders' 2020 campaign manager and executive director of the pro-unionization media organization More Perfect Union, wrote a memo to endorsed campaigns advising them to "embrace the attacks" they may face over having the support of an avowed Democratic socialist.
"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," the memo said, per The Post.
Sanders previously ran for president in both 2016 and 2020, finishing as the runner-up in the Democratic primary both times.
The Vermont senator's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. CNN reporter Ryan Nobles later confirming the Post's reporting, posting screenshots of the memo on Twitter.
—Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) April 20, 2022
"While it's frustrating this private memo leaked to the media, the central fact remains true, which is that Senator Sanders is the most popular officeholder in the country," Mike Casca, a spokesman for Sanders, told The Post.
Sanders previously said in 2020 that he's unlikely to run for president a third time.
"I think it's very, very unlikely that I will be running for president ever again," Sanders said in an interview with The Washington Post. "I think next time around you're going to see another candidate carrying the progressive banner."
Another recent report indicated that Biden himself plans to run again in 2024 and has told former President Barack Obama as much, according to two sources.
But the memo from the Sanders campaign focuses primarily on how down-ballot candidates endorsed by Sanders can fend off potential attacks from opponents.
"As campaigning heats up in states across the country, your political opponents and their corporate-aligned allies will try to make you feel defensive about Sen. Bernie Sanders' support for your candidate," the memo said, according to The Post. "Our advice is to embrace the attacks."
The memo includes hypothetical lines of questioning, including "will you support Sanders if he challenges Biden in 2024?"
"Sen. Sanders is focused on helping Joe Biden have a successful presidency," the proposed response said. "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."
Insider spoke with several former Sanders campaign staffers in September, one of whom said they believed it was "time to have a new standard-bearer for many of the ideas that Bernie brought to the public consciousness."
"Oh, my God, no, no, please no," one former senior Sanders staffer said when asked about a potential 2024 campaign. "He can't run. It's over."
Politico also recently reported that some Sanders advisors would like to see Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California — a progressive who served as co-chair of the Vermont senator's 2020 campaign — to run for president in 2024 if Biden opts not to run.
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