Bernie Sanders Goes Home to Contemplate What's Next

Sanders is back in Vermont, reassessing his situation before the D.C. primary.

June 10, 2016, 4:09 PM
PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., conducts a rally outside of RFK Stadium in Washington, June 9, 2016.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., conducts a rally outside of RFK Stadium in Washington, June 9, 2016.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images

BURLINGTON, Vermont— -- After Harry Reid met with Bernie Sanders Thursday, reporters asked the Senate minority leader whether he could see putting the longest-serving independent in Congress in a leadership position with his Democratic caucus.

Reid did not rule it out. Instead, after reminding the media that he had previously appointed Sanders to several committees and a few chairmanships, he left open yet another possibility for the newly minted progressive superstar.

A cabinet post? A leadership position? Chairman of his own progressive grassroots organizations? Even (maybe?) a VP pick? While, those close to him say Sanders still is most likely to return to the Senate to represent Vermont, he is going to continue to weigh all potential avenues while home in Burlington this weekend, they add.

“He will be meeting and consulting with key supporters and advisers from around the country,” campaign spokesman Michael Briggs told ABC News. “He and [wife] Jane invited about two dozen people to come to Burlington.”

Sanders, 74, has a lot of political chips to cash in, but for now, staffers say, he has mostly been obsessing about the Democratic Party platform and will continue to work closely with his picks for the party’s platform drafting committee to see to it that the final documents include as many of his ideas as possible.

Deborah Parker, a Native-American tribal leader and one of Sanders’ picks to the platform committee, said Thursday during the senator’s rally in Washington, D.C., that she hoped to “honor” Sanders and “represent his vision” on the committee.

While the final document is nonbinding, it does symbolically tie all Democratic candidates up and down tickets across the country to a set of values and policy proposals, and Sanders has made it clear that he wants throw some his political weight toward it.

The senator will also continue to use his small-dollar fundraising machine to back local candidates of his choice. The fundraising and joint petition emails sent to Sanders’ list have brought in over 267,000 contributions totaling nearly $2.3 million for 19 candidates, including candidates for U.S. Senate, Congress and local statehouses, according to Sanders’ digital director, Kenneth Pennington.

Publicly, next week remains up in the air for the senator. He is scheduled to speak to the Senate Democratic Caucus Tuesday back in Washington, D.C., the same day as the Democratic primary, the final one of the season.

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