A new – and familiar – name might soon be added to the list of candidates running in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District race: Levi Sanders, the son of 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
A senior adviser to Levi Sanders told ABC News he’s “in the stages of deciding” whether he’ll run for Congress, talking it over with his potential constituents.
Sanders doesn’t have a firm timeline, Ansh Grover said, but will decide in the next few weeks.
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Sanders would be the eighth Democrat in one of the most competitive races in the nation.
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Sanders was a senior adviser on his father’s presidential campaign. And considering how well Bernie Sanders did in in New Hampshire in the 2016 election, one political analyst said voters there might like the idea of having someone with the Sanders name representing their district in Washington.
Dean Spiliotes, a political blogger for NHPoliticalCapital.com and a scholar at Southern New Hampshire University, told ABC News he believes Sanders would likely be running on the “family political brand.”
If Levi Sanders does decide to run, he faces some daunting challenges, despite his famous name, Spiliotes says.
To start with, Sanders doesn’t live in the 1st District, and Spiliotes says he would have to have a good explanation for why he’d be running in a district where he doesn’t reside. (In Sanders’ home district, the incumbent is seeking reelection).
And while his name might give him an advantage, Spiliotes says Sanders not being a high-profile political figure in his own right in New Hampshire could hurt him.
Another challenge: many of Bernie Sanders’ political consultants are currently working for the campaign of another Democratic candidate – state Rep. Mark McKenzie. When ABC News asked one of Sanders’ top aides during the 2016 race, who is based in New Hampshire and helped the Vermont senator win handily there, what he thought of Levi Sanders running, he responded with a giant thumbs-down emoji.
Given that, Spiliotes tells ABC News it would be interesting to see how support for Bernie Sanders might shake out between Levi Sanders and McKenzie.
Sanders could also run into trouble going up against two other popular Democrats, Chris Pappas and Maura Sullivan.
Chris Pappas is well-known in New Hampshire and “is plugged into the party apparatus in the state,” Spiliotes said.
And Sullivan, who served as a top official in Obama Veterans Administration following a career in the Marines, had impressive fundraising numbers in the last quarter of 2017, he said.
A spokesperson for Sullivan declined to comment to ABC News, while Pappas and McKenzie have yet to respond.