"I am running for president," he told the Associated Press Wednesday

By Tierney McAfee
Updated April 30, 2015 07:50 AM
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Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on Thursday that he will be seeking the nomination for President of the United States of America.

The Independent senator and self-described socialist will run as a Democrat against frontrunner Hillary Clinton, Politico reports.

“I am running for president,” he told the Associated Press in an interview Wednesday.

“People should not underestimate me,” he added. “I’ve run outside of the two-party system, defeating Democrats and Republicans, taking on big-money candidates and, you know, I think the message that has resonated in Vermont is a message that can resonate all over this country.”

Sanders, 73, announced his candidacy with little fanfare, but he’s expected to hold a bigger campaign kickoff in Vermont in a few weeks, according to Vermont Public Radio. He will then head to Iowa and New Hampshire, Politico reports.

Sanders, whose campaign will focus on climate change, income inequality and campaign finance reform, according to Politico, is the first to challenge Clinton. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, former Virginia senator Jim Webb and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee are also considering joining the 2016 presidential race.

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