Our Revolution, the political group Bernie Sanders founded after his bid for the Democratic nomination, will start a campaign to draft the Vermont senator into the 2020 presidential race.
The nonprofit organization, run by Nina Turner, the former Ohio state senator and a staunch Sanders ally, asked supporters in an email days before Christmas if they should form "'Run Bernie Run' to encourage the senator to jump into the 2020 campaign."
On Monday evening, the group notified members that it would "activate" the draft effort, making Our Revolution the second group to encourage Sanders to run for president, following the launch of "Organizing For Bernie" last month.
Both efforts are separate from the official Sanders operation but run by aides who are closely linked to the senator and his staff. Turner, the head of Our Revolution, regularly travels with Sanders, joining him most recently on a nine-state tour ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. And "Organizing For Bernie" is headed by a longtime former aide, Rich Pelletier.
Diane May, an Our Revolution spokesperson, said Tuesday the group would be releasing more details about "Run Bernie Run" in the coming weeks.
The separation between Sanders and Our Revolution, structured as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, has always been a tenuous and fluid one. Turner has made Our Revolution a more forceful presence in the party and the press — willing to weigh in, take positions, or support candidates where Sanders has not. But she has also maintained a place inside the senator's inner circle, advising Sanders and attending strategy meetings on 2020.
Even as other potential 2020 candidates move forward with new hires and plans for exploratory committees — Sen. Elizabeth Warren launched hers on New Year's Eve — Sanders has yet to provide a clear signal about his plans for the race. Most current and former aides still assume he will decide to run but say that the senator has yet to make the final call.
In the meantime, Sanders' possible campaign already faces a significant challenge. Women who worked on his 2016 bid described in a lengthy New York Times report a male-driven culture where they said they faced sexism, gender discrimination, and a hostile work environment.
"I certainly apologize to any woman who felt that she was not treated appropriately," Sanders told CNN last week in response to the article. "And of course, if I run, we will do better next time."
Sanders aides say they took a number of steps on his 2018 campaign for Senate reelection to institute new internal policies around reporting sexual harassment and discrimination.