We finally have a challenger to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential nomination contest.
Seventy-three-year-old Vermont independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders officially announces his candidacy today, though he says he won’t give a big speech noting the event until May 26.
“I’ve been traveling around the country for the last year trying to ascertain whether there really is grass-roots support in terms of people standing up and being prepared to take on the billionaire class,” Sanders tells USA Today. “I believe that there is.”
Though Sanders is the first official candidate to join Clinton in the race, he won’t be the last. Former Rhode Island U.S. Sen. and Gov. Lincoln Chafee is all but officially in as well.
Interestingly, neither have been Democrats for very long. Chafee was a moderate Republican-turned-independent who only turned Democrat two years ago.
Sanders is a Socialist who realized he couldn’t run a credible campaign as an independent, and thus is now becoming a Democrat.
(By the way, Dr. Ben Carson, who announces his candidacy officially next week, has always been an independent who only became a Republican a few months ago because he too realized that running as an independent for president would be impossible.)
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is all but officially in the race, though lucky for him, he’s not announcing this week. O’Malley’s tenure in Baltimore was full of accomplishments, but as the blame game begins on why that city is still struggling so much, his policies regarding policing are coming to the fore this week, and the reviews have not been good.
Sanders says he hopes to raise $50 million in small, online contributions.
If you’re a Democrat who supports Clinton’s candidacy, in my mind you should embrace more candidates in the race. However, many that I’ve spoken to in recent months have said that it’s perfectly fine that she run unopposed. Then again, that was before the email controversy and the new reports about the Clinton Global Initiative.
Clinton gave a speech about the incarceration rate for blacks and police tactics yesterday in New York City yesterday, a speech that absolutely repudiated Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill that paid for 100,000 officers, built more prisons and increased the number of offenses that are federal crimes. It’s an example of how society changes, and how it shows the negative side of being a “legacy” candidate a la Jeb Bush.
In other news..
Ken Hagan for Tampa Mayor? The veteran Republican county commissioner says it’s a possibility for him that he’s considering in four years.
A new poll shows Marco Rubio moving on up in Iowa — but he’s still down double-digits to Scott Walker there.
And we recommend reading some of SPB publisher Peter Schorsch’s Winners and Losers of the aborted legislative session, since we spent half the day writing some of those up…