Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) may be mulling a run for president, but the editorial board of one of his home state’s newspapers is asking him not to.
In an op-ed published Saturday in the Barre Montpelier Times Argus titled “Don’t run,” members of the board said “we beg him” to avoid throwing his hat in the ring for 2020.
“That is an unfavorable opinion, especially among most Vermonters and progressives who support the platform that has come to define him,” the board acknowledged. “But at this point, there are more things about another Sanders run at the White House that concern us than excite us.”
One of the board’s gripes with Sanders, the writers noted, was that during his 2016 presidential run, he was absent dozens of times for votes on key matters they felt were important to his constituents.
Bernie Sanders through the years
Bernie Sanders through the years
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during an event in Iowa Falls, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. With a week to go until the Iowa caucuses and the Democratic presidential race there in a virtual dead heat, Hillary Clinton and Sanders are mapping out divergent paths toward winning the first votes of the nomination process. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Washington, UNITED STATES: Newly-elected senators meet with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (R), D-NV, in Washington, DC 13 November 2006. From left are: Senator-elect James Webb, D-VA, Senator-elect Bernie Sanders, I-VT, Senator-elect Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, and Reid. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
US Congressman Elliot Engel (L) takes pictures next to US Senator Bernie Sanders after being dressed as Bouale leaders by public notaries of the Kouadioyaokro village, 150 km from Abidjan, 09 November 2008. US Senators Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders visit comes ahead of a July 2008 certification deadline to ensure cocoa heading to the United States -- the third largest importer of Ivorian cocoa -- has not been produced with child labour. AFP PHOTO/ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - APRIL 25: Potential Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (R) (I-VT) delivers remarks at the South Carolina Democratic Party state convention April 25, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Sanders joined former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Sen. Lincoln Chafee in speaking to the convention. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 20: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participates in a 'Don't Trade Our Future' march organized by the group Campaign for America's Future April 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. The event was part of the Populism 2015 Conference which is conducting their conference with the theme 'Building a Movement for People and the Planet.'
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, greets supporters during a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 6: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Cross Insurance Arena while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Supporters hold up signs at a campaign rally for Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 6: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Cross Insurance Arena while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary. Sen. Bernie Sanders greets supporters after speaking in Portland. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 18: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center July 18, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Democratic presidential candidate spoke on his central issues of income inequality, job creation, controlling climate change, quality affordable education and getting big money out of politics, to more than 11,000 people attending. (Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images)
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Taking issue with his laundry list of past media appearances, the board added, “you are more likely to catch Sanders on Colbert, CNN or MSNBC than you are to see him talking to reporters here in Vermont.”
“Evidently, microphones here don’t extend far enough.”
At this point, there are more things about another Sanders run at the White House that concern us than excite us.Barre Montpelier Times Argus editorial board
Aside from Sanders’ cable news habit, the board’s biggest concern was that he may not have the ability to foster party unity among Democrats, which will be essential if they hope to take back the White House.
Former staffers who worked for Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign recently raised accusations of sexual harassment and sexism against other Sanders campaign aides. Last Wednesday, the senator’s former campaign manager told The New York Times “there was a failure” to address the alleged misconduct, and Sanders has vowed to do better if he runs again.
“We fear a Sanders run risks dividing the well-fractured Democratic Party, and could lead to another split in the 2020 presidential vote,” the board said. “There is too much at stake to take that gamble. If we are going to maintain a two-party system, the mandate needs to be a clear one.”
While Sanders has not yet announced whether he’ll launch a presidential campaign, he’s only one of a handful of potential Democratic candidates that includes former Vice President Joe Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s already formed an exploratory committee for 2020.