Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ only biological child is running for a Congressional seat in New Hampshire but you wouldn’t know it from the senator’s press coverage. Levi Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination to take the seat of retiring Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter representing New Hampshire’s First Congressional District. In his only statement about the race, Bernie indicates a reluctance to throw in with legacy political families as he offers lukewarm praise of his son’s political ambition.
“Levi has spent his life in service to low income and working families, and I am very proud of all that he has done,” he said. “In our family, however, we do not believe in dynastic politics. Levi is running his own campaign in his own way.”
There’s no endorsement there. The 49-year-old Sanders is Bernie’s only son and has been involved in his father’s political career since the age of two. (Boston Globe)
It is especially strange because Levi has been a constant presence in his father’s political life, from sitting on his lap as a 2-year-old during Sanders’ first run for public office to following him around the country during the senator’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Bernie doesn’t hesitate to travel the country to endorse other lefty candidates running on campaign platforms aligned with his own socialist agenda. Is it because he’s looking out for his own reputation over supporting an offspring? He has a little history of not publicly supporting his kids, as it turns out. His step-daughter, Carina Driscoll, ran an unsuccessful race for Burlington, Vermont mayor. She also didn’t receive an endorsement from Senator Sanders. Maybe by not endorsing his son, who is said to be running an inept campaign with little hopes of success, Bernie is more concerned about his potential 2020 bid for president and doesn’t want to tarnish his own ambitions.
Levi doesn’t even live in the district he hopes to represent. While not a legal requirement, non-residency is always an issue in a political campaign. He lives in Claremont, New Hampshire on the Vermont border, about an hour’s drive outside the district. He works in Cambridge, Massachusetts and previously failed to win a seat on Claremont’s city council. The field is crowded in this race, however, and all of the candidates lack strong name recognition.
Levi Sanders is in a crowded field of nine Democrats and three Republicans, all vying to fill the seat being vacated by Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter. The district, which covers a swath of the eastern part of the state and includes Manchester and Portsmouth, has been among the most volatile of swing districts in the country. Trump barely won the district in 2016, and so did Shea-Porter, who has endorsed her chief of staff in the race, Naomi Andrews.
Sanders has raised only $11,500 by March 31, according to the most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, while one of his campaign rivals, Maura Sullivan, has raised nearly $1 million. A survey conducted in mid-April found that 82 percent had never heard of Levi Sanders. Still, there is time before the September primary.
Without the cache of his father’s support which could potentially bring in lots of his own supporters to Levi’s bid, voters have to question why the guy is even running in the district in such a crowded field.
“From a constitutional basis, I have a right to run. I’ve lived in New Hampshire for 15 years,” Sanders said.
The legal services analyst added that “when I talk with people, they don’t ask me that question. They ask about issues.”
But Mary Cady, of Newmarket, disagreed. The Democratic voter who is still deciding which candidate she will eventually back said Sander’s answer was unsatisfactory.
“Legally he has the right to run. There’s no question about that,” Cady said. “But I feel that he should be running in his own district. I feel that there are already too many people in this race and I don’t understand why he would join in knowing that.”
Levi only has two endorsements so far. Carol Shea-Porter’s chief of staff is also a candidate and she has endorsed her.
“I don’t know anyone, not one person, in the New Hampshire Bernie community who is excited about Levi running,” said state Representative Tim Smith, a Manchester Democrat who is unaligned in the race and the de facto leader of Bernie Sanders’s network of supporters in the congressional district’s largest city. “I also have no idea what Levi thinks his path to victory looks like and I cannot invent one.“
I almost feel sorry for the guy as he tries to latch onto his father’s success in politics. Just kidding. The last thing we need is another socialist in Congress.