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U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (R), Democrat of California, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, speak during a press conference following a vote in the U.S. House on ending U.S. military involvement in the war in Yemen, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2019.

U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (R), Democrat of California, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, speak during a press conference following a vote in the U.S. House on ending U.S. military involvement in the war in Yemen, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2019. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Bernie Insiders Give Thumbs Up to Ro Khanna 2024 Presidential Run

The California Democrat is being encouraged by figures in Bernie Sanders' former presidential campaigns to pursue a 2024 White House bid if Biden isn't in the race, according to the new reporting.

Andrea Germanos

Progressive U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna is being encouraged by leading figures behind Sen. Bernie Sanders' back-to-back Democratic presidential bids to launch his own run for the White House in 2024 should President Joe Biden not seek another term, Politico reported Thursday.

Khanna (D-Calif.), a 45-year-old, Philadelphia-born and Justice Democrat-backed lawmaker, has represented Silicon Valley since 2017. He also served as the national co-chair for Sanders' (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign.

Key voices nudging Khanna to make a presidential run, according to the new reporting, include Sanders' former presidential campaign manager Jeff Weaver and the Vermont senator's senior adviser Mark Longabaugh.

Weaver told the outlet that Khanna "would have tremendous appeal among people who supported Bernie," while Longabauch said the California congressman "would be a very effective candidate" who brings a "very powerful" message about restructuring the economy for greater wealth distribution throughout the U.S. Khanna would also be able to grow the "big tent" that is the Democratic Party, according to Longabaugh.

Politico also referenced support for Khanna from Larry Cohen, the chairman of Our Revolution—the progressive organizing group that emerged from Sanders' 2016 presidential run. Cohen told The Washington Post last year that if Biden doesn't run in 2024, "I think absolutely there'll be progressives—at least one."

Khanna, for his part, told Politico he was not going to run for the president in 2024—though he didn't make a statement rejecting a future bid—and reiterated his support for Biden if the president runs again in the next cycle.

Khanna and Sanders are generally aligned politically and have joined together on a number of bills, including a War Powers Resolution to block U.S. military participation in the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

Like Sanders, Khanna has also called for a Medicare for All healthcare system, blasted Big Oil over alleged price gouging and its climate disinformation campaign, criticized the Pentagon's bloated budget, stressed the need for protected and expanded Social Security, and demanded robust Covid-19 relief for economically devastated Americans.

The California Democrat has also come under scrutiny for being one of the biggest stock traders in Congress in 2021, though he recently indicated support for banning federal lawmakers from trading individual stocks.

Khanna also set off a deluge of criticism from the left, when, in 2018, he initially endorsed incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley of New York as he faced a progressive primary challenge from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who ultimately won.

Under pressure, Khanna ultimately gave a dual endorsement to both Crowley and Ocasio-Cortez.

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