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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed socialist and lone independent in the United States Senate, has declared he will and seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. Sanders will make his announcement on Thursday, April 30, 2015, and his campaign will become official.

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Report from WKRC:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will announce his plans to seek the Democratic nomination for president on Thursday, presenting a liberal challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Sanders, an independent who describes himself as a “democratic socialist,” will follow a statement with a major campaign kickoff in his home state in several weeks. Two people familiar with his announcement spoke to The Associated Press under condition of anonymity to describe internal planning.

Sanders will become the second major Democrat in the race, joining Clinton. He has urged the former secretary of state to speak out strongly about issues related to income inequality and climate change. The former first lady and New York senator is viewed as a heavy favorite in the primary and entered the race earlier this month.

The white-haired senator and former mayor of Burlington, Vermont, has been a liberal firebrand, blasting the concentration of wealth in America and assailing a “billionaire class” that he says has taken over the nation’s politics. His entry could be embraced by some liberals in the party who have been disenchanted with Clinton and have unsuccessfully urged Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to join the race.

In recent weeks, Sanders has been a forceful critic of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which would eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers for the U.S., Canada and Asian countries conducting commerce with each other.

Sanders probably won’t make it very far in the primaries, but if he gets on the debate stage, which I presume is his goal, he will become another progressive voice forcing Hillary Clinton to veer left. Hillary’s team is well aware of this and she will now have two candidates, the other being Martin O’Malley, who will attack her as being too tied to Wall Street interests and too moderate on many key democratic issues.

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