Sanders expected to announce presidential bid as soon as next week

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) is expected to announce a 2020 presidential bid as soon next week, according to two people familiar with the plans.

Sanders is gearing up to release a video announcing his campaign, the people said. It will be accompanied by a petition seeking 1 million signatures from voters supporting the Vermont senator’s White House ambitions.

News that Sanders had already recorded the announcement video was first reported on Saturday by Politico.

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Sanders’s anticipated announcement is part of a so-called soft launch of a campaign, one person familiar with the plans told The Hill.

A spokesperson for Sanders denied on Saturday that the senator was planning for a 2020 announcement next week.

In jumping into the presidential race, Sanders would join an already crowded field of contenders for the Democratic nomination that so far includes Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Warren, Pressley introduce bill to make it a crime for police officers to deny medical care to people in custody Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers MORE (D-N.Y.) and a handful of others.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, mounted an insurgent challenge to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. While he ultimately fell short in that contest, the progressive firebrand built a vast network of grass-roots supporters and notched wins in a handful of key states, including New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Since then, Sanders has proven to be an influential figure in Democratic politics. Some of the senator’s signature policy proposals, like “Medicare for all” and a $15 minimum wage, have gained traction among Democratic lawmakers. And the senator stumped for a number of Democratic candidates during the 2018 midterm elections.

On Friday, Our Revolution, the grass-roots group founded by Sanders after his 2016 presidential bid, announced that it was launching the second phase of its effort to draft the Vermont Independent into the 2020 race.

In an email to supporters, David Duhalde, the group’s political director, said that that phase would include “launching direct outreach programs for phone banking, texting, and door knocking,” as well as “coordinating one-on-one trainings with group leaders and volunteers.”

Updated at 5:16 p.m.

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