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Upcoming Sanders Event in Iowa Keeps Eyebrows Raised for 2020 Prospects

"Bernie knows that we need bold, progressive leaders in Congress if we’re going to change the direction of our country," says Iowa Democratic candidate and former Sanders aide

Sen. Bernie Sanders address a large crowd during a 2015 campaign stop in Iowa. (Photo: AP)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) doesn't much want to talk about whether or not he'll run again for president in 2020, but word of a trip to Iowa next week will do little to muffle speculation.

Heading to the key early-voting midwest state for an event in support of former aide Pete D'Alessandro, now running for Congress, the news is just the latest breadcrumb that Sanders—who surveys reveal is the nation's most popular active politician and seen as a top contender to claim the Democratic nomination if he runs—is seriously considering a bid.

D'Alessandro, the Des Moines Register reports, "was a top adviser to Sanders' near-miss Iowa caucuses campaign in 2016 and received his endorsement late last month. He's also been endorsed by Our Revolution, the organization that succeeded Sanders' presidential campaign."

D'Alessandro said he looked forward to the upcoming event—which is free and open to the public—as well as Sanders' support.

"Bernie knows that we need bold, progressive leaders in Congress if we’re going to change the direction of our country," he told the Register. "That's why I'm proudly supporting Medicare for All, a $15/hour living wage, and free college tuition for those who work hard. We can take our country back and continue the movement Bernie started here in 2016."

As Common Dreams reported in January, Sanders recently gathered some of his top 2016 advisors and campaign staff together for an informal meeting. Though he has not ruled out running, he has repeatedly downplayed the speculation. In an interview on CBS's Face the Nation last month, Sanders insisted that whoever does run against Trump in 2020 must "focus on the needs of workers" and "be prepared to stand up to the one percent."

"What we need to do as a nation, whether I run or no matter who runs, is revitalize American democracy and create a government that actually works for working people, and not just for billionaire campaign contributors," Sanders said.

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