Fewer than 4 years ago, Bernie Sanders arrived at the new Hampshire State residence with his campaign lawyer to register for the state’s presidential primary. In ~ the time, state choice officials had signaled they can not let Sanders on the ballot because of his longtime affiliation as an independent.

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“I am a Democrat now,” Sanders proclaimed to reporters in ~ the State home in November 2015. And when asked whether he would certainly run together a Democrat in every future elections, Sanders responded, “yes.”

Except, in the future, he didn’t. And also as Sanders begins his second campaign for president — including, this weekend, his very first trip to new Hampshire — he proceeds to complete with his party affiliation, or absence thereof.


Four years ago, Sanders ran in the autonomous primary, even though he was technically an elevation — and also a self-described democratic socialist — allowing him to run as an insurgent to the party. But he beginning the 2020 gyeongju as the democratic Party’s front-runner in many public opinion polls, leaving part Democrats questioning whether a self-described independent must be the party’s standard-bearer.

Last year, as soon as it came time for Sanders to was standing for reelection to the Senate in Vermont, he did what he has actually done because he sought the Burlington mayor’s office in 1980: he ran together an independent.

And things have actually only gotten an ext awkward recently. On Feb. 19, Sanders filed paperwork to operation for president as a Democrat. On Monday, less than two weeks later, the filed different paperwork to seek reelection because that the Senate in vermouth in 2022, as a independent.

Last week, the democratic National Committee introduced a “loyalty pledge” because that presidential candidates to affirm and also sign, consisting of a line stating, “I to be a Democrat.”

Sanders turn in his signed copy Tuesday afternoon, complete with a notary seal.


When asked for comment, the Sanders campaign listed that Sanders signed the DNC pledge and also that vermouth doesn’t need party registration for voters.

At a CNN town hall last month, Sanders to be asked why he was running as a Democrat also though he has actually never run as a Democrat except in the last presidential race.

“Let’s collection the document straight. I am a member that the democratic leadership in the United states Senate. I’ve been a member of the democratic caucus in the Senate because that the critical 13 years and also in the home for 16 years prior to that. won the democratic nomination in mine state, however in Vermont, I have actually chosen to operation as an independent since it go way, way back,” Sanders answered.

In the end, not just did Sanders have no trouble getting on the 2016 new Hampshire presidential primary ballot, yet he additionally scored the largest autonomous presidential main win in the state because John F. Kennedy’s victory in 1960. The win moved his project through a primary season that reached all 50 states, caused his competitor Hillary Clinton to change her project platform, required rule alters at the democratic National Convention, and made once-in-a-generation adjustments to national presidential major rules walking forward.

During that process, his project manager reaffirmed that from then on, Sanders would certainly be a Democrat because that life.

“My client was not lying,” claimed Andru Volinsky, who served as the new Hampshire legal counsel come the Sanders campaign and joined him during his 2015 State home visit. “He promised to operation as a Democrat, the did, and then that endorsed the ticket when he lost and also campaigned because that them after.”


Volinsky, who claimed he has actually not endorsed Sanders or anyone in the 2020 contest, believes that many voters don’t care about the technicality of his party affiliation.

“What attracted voter to him were the issues and the causes he talked about,” Volinsky said.

Today, the 77-year-old Sanders start the 2020 race as the clear front-runner in the brand-new Hampshire primary. A university of brand-new Hampshire poll exit this week verified Sanders top the large field with 26 percent support, 4 points much better than the second-place finisher, previous vice president Joe Biden.

As Sanders make the efforts to hold together the party approximately him, it would be clever for the vermont senator to put his twin partisan affiliations come bed, stated Roger Lessard, the Hillsborough County autonomous Committee chairman that backed Sanders in 2016.

“By and also large, much more people would certainly feel comfortable through backing the if he were an actual Democrat this time,” Lessard said. “I think a many of civilization would wish he quit playing around about it, specifically now.”

And, while the national autonomous Party might be putting much more pressure on him to align through their party, there is additionally an initiative underway in new Hampshire to do room because that his dual political existence.

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With bipartisan support, a bill passed the new Hampshire residence last week the would broaden the needs to get on a primary ballot past just gift a member that a party to being “a recognized candidate because that president in the party in which ns desire come file.”


New Hampshire autonomous Party chairman ray Buckley supports the bill.

“What 2016 brought up were some potential concerns about party affiliation,” Buckley said. “Whatever location Senator Sanders desire to affiliate himself through is less essential than this voice being component of the debate.”

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