Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hasn’t “won” a lot of the Democratic primaries this year in which he championed progressive candidates. But there’s no question he won in Tuesday’s primary in his own state with his own name on the ballot.
The former Democratic presidential candidate cruised to victory in Vermont’s Democratic primary, defeating relatively unknown challenger Folasade Adeluola.
As he did in his two previous campaigns for U.S. Senate, Sanders has indicated he will turn down the nomination so he can run as an independent instead of a Democrat.
And Vermont Democrats are okay with Sanders not taking the nomination, as they had been in 2006 and 2012.
“The Vermont Democratic Party has a strong, productive and close relationship with Senator Sanders,” party spokesman Christopher Di Mezzo said in an email. “We are proud of his role as a leader in the US Senate Democratic Caucus, and as a powerful voice for Democratic values, issues and candidates.”
Though he’s a democratic socialist who classifies himself as an independent, Sanders sought and nearly won the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. He is a member of the Democratic caucus in the Senate and has accrued seniority as a regular Democrat would.
Since his run for president, Sanders has leveraged his fame to promote more progressive Democratic candidates in primaries around the country. Despite several victories, particularly down-ballot, most haven’t won. But Democrats have become increasingly open to policy ideas that Sanders has spearheaded, such as Medicare for all.