Sanders Won't Commit to Full Senate Term as He Considers Another White House Run

October 30, 2018

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) would not pledge to serve a full six-year term if re-elected to his Senate seat in November, acknowledging Monday he is considering another run for the presidency.

At a candidates forum, Sanders said he may run for the White House but hadn't yet made up his mind, The Hill reports.

"Right now, my focus is on the year 2018, but if you’re asking me to make an absolute pledge as to whether I’ll be running for president or not, I’m not going to make that pledge," Sanders said. "The simple truth is I have not made that decision. But I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I may not run. I may. But on the other hand, I may not."

He quipped if he was elected president, then Vermonters could expect he would give up his seat.

Sanders, one of two independents in the Senate, is expected to handily win a third term in November. He was re-elected in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote and enjoys high approval ratings in the blue state.

Future presidential candidates often play coy on that question; then-Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) said in January 2006 he would serve his full six-year term and not run for president, but he backtracked in October and announced a White House bid in 2007.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, made a long shot bid for the Democratic nomination in 2016 and won 22 primaries and caucuses but fell short of knocking off frontrunner Hillary Clinton. He later endorsed her, although somewhat reluctantly.

Sanders told MSNBC host Al Sharpton in April that he would support whoever had the best opportunity to defeat President Donald Trump.

"I want more than anything to see that Trump is defeated, and what I will assess at the proper time is who is the best candidate, and I mean that sincerely," Sanders said. "Everybody has an ego. I have an ego. But what is most important for this country is that we come together, to transform America … and to defeat Donald Trump."