Socialist senator and rumored 2016 candidate says he is still deciding whether to enter Democratic race
SAN FRANCISCO — Speaking to a packed crowd of supporters on Monday evening, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said he was still mulling entering the 2016 presidential contest, but would only do so if he thought he could “put together millions of people who are prepared to work really hard to take on the big money interests.”
Sanders has openly discussed his potential candidacy for months, and even paid a visit to the crucial primary state of Iowa earlier this year. But in recent weeks he has begun to sound more reluctant about jumping into the race, in large part because of doubts over whether he could raise the money necessary to run a credible campaign. During Monday’s speaking event, Sanders indicated that he was concerned a poor showing would undermine political support for left-wing economic policies.
“It has to be done well,” said the Senate’s one self-identified democratic socialist said during a public event at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, the oldest public affairs forum in the United States. “Because if it’s not done well, then people will say, ‘Oh, income and wealth inequality; if you didn’t do very well in your campaign, then no one believes in that.’”
But if the senator is leaning against running, he gave no indication on Monday. Instead he turned the question on the audience, asking how many people in the crowd wanted him to run for president and would be willing to volunteer for his campaign if he did.