(JTA) — Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont made it official: He will run for president as a Democrat.
An Independent who calls himself a “Democratic Socialist,” Sanders made the announcement Thursday morning in an email to supporters. He had confirmed the run a day earlier in an interview with The Associated Press.
Sanders, who is Jewish, joined the U.S. Senate in 2007. Prior to that he had served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991.
“Throughout his career, Sen. Sanders has fiercely fought for progressive values – values that characterize the vast majority of Jewish Americans. We are particularly pleased to see a strong Jewish progressive leader entering the race in what should be a moment of pride for all Jewish Americans,” the National Jewish Democratic Council said in a statement.
He will be a long shot to capture the party’s nomination, as Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and U.S. senator, showed a lead of 48 percentage points in the latest polls of potential Democratic candidates.
Sanders was born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrant parents from Poland.