Some voters from Vermont and New Hampshire say they support Senator Bernie Sanders for president, but their main priority is beating President Donald Trump.
Sanders also has support from the rest of the Vermont congressional delegation.
Sen. Sanders (I – Vt.) announced his second presidential run Tuesday. The Vermont independent is competing for the democratic nomination.
“It is time to complete that revolution and implement the vision we fought for,” he said in his campaign announcement video.
Some Vermonters are still feeling the “Bern.”
“I think it’s great. Nothing that’s worthwhile comes easy so it makes sense that he’s gonna give it another shot here,” said Ryan Ewell, who lives in Burlington.
“That’s super exciting, I’m so glad. Sure, he’s a little bit older now but our country needs him and Bernie’s the man,” said Kim Rabideau, who lives in Burlington.
If elected president, Sen. Sanders would be 79 years old at his inauguration in January 2021.
“Does his age concern you?” asked Local 22 & Local 44 News’ Staci DaSilva.
“A little bit, a little bit but there are bigger things to worry about,” said Doug Cardin, who lives in Burlington.
“I think there are a lot of things that come with experience, and we can use a little experience in our next round of leadership,” said Ewell.
Sanders joins a group of democrats vying for the nomination, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D – California), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D – Massachusetts), Sen. Cory Booker (D – New Jersey), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D – New York), former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Rep. Tulsi Gubbard (D – Hawaii).
Some people worry it will affect the general election fight against President Trump.
“I think that’s been a problem in the past. I love what he stands for, always have. I’m bereft about where our country is right now so whoever can get out there and get us back on the right track, if it’s him or someone else,” said Mary Skiffington, who lives in Plainfield, NH.
Vermont Republicans, including former lawmaker Paul Dame, fear a repeat of history.
“If his campaign has the kind of impact that it did when he ran in 2016, in terms of missing Senate votes, I think Vermont could really be at a loss in that category,” Dame said.
Vermont Republican Chair Deborah Billado is calling for the newly re-elected Sanders to resign from the Senate.
“Vermonters deserve a full time Senator. Vermonters deserve a Senator that believes in what is best for Vermonters, not what is best for his political ambitions,” wrote Billado in a statement.
“I think at the very least Senator Sanders should make the commitment that he’s not going to take a full salary if he’s not going to put in a full day’s work,” said Dame.
Meanwhile, Sanders’ fellow congressional delegation members applaud his decision.
Rep. Peter Welch (D – Vermont) wrote Sanders has his support.
“Bernie Sanders is a welcome voice in this campaign. He has a proven, powerful, and compelling message of economic fairness and environmental justice that will resonate across America. I will support my friend and fellow Vermonter for president in 2020,” he wrote.
Unlike Welch, Senator Patrick Leahy (D – Vermont) did not endorse Sanders in 2016 and cast his superdelegate vote for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.
“We have a strong field of candidates, and Bernie’s entry makes the field even stronger. Bernie and I had a great talk today. I’m proud to support my fellow Vermonter, a proven leader with a strong message,” he wrote in a statement.