Sanders expresses interest in joining Biden admin, raising question of open Senate seat

Oct 23 2020, 12:07 PM

Sen. Bernie Sander, I-Vt., is interested in joining Joe Biden’s administration if the former vice president beats President Donald Trump in November, according to Politico.

Politico reported Thursday that Sanders has expressed interest in becoming U.S. Labor secretary under a Biden administration, citing anonymous sources close to the Vermont senator. 

If Biden, a Democrat, won, and Sanders joined his cabinet, Vermont’s Republican governor would have to appoint a replacement for Sanders in the Senate until the state holds a special election for the seat within six months of its vacancy. The winner would serve out the rest of Sanders’ term, which ends in 2025. 

Responding to the news on Twitter, Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, the Democratic candidate for governor, said that if elected, he would appoint someone to fill the seat who, like Sanders, would caucus with Democratic senators.

“Incredibly excited by this news. With this news, however, comes the reality of an open Senate seat. If I’m governor, I will appoint a replacement who will caucus with the Democrats as Bernie did. Phil Scott has repeatedly refused to commit to this,” Zuckerman said. 

Actually, Scott said exactly that at his press conference on Friday. He said a lot of ifs are involved — if Biden wins, if Scott himself is re-elected, if Sanders is tapped for labor secretary — but if all those ifs occur, he would prefer to appoint an independent who caucuses with the Democrats to fill the Senate seat temporarily. Vermonters would choose the new senator in a a special election. 

Seven Days reported in February that Scott said he would only appoint someone to fill the seat who had no interest in running in the special election, because he wouldn’t want to give anyone a “leg up” in the race.

“I wouldn’t think that would be fair,” Scott said, according to Seven Days. 

-Xander Landen

This report was updated after Scott’s press conference on Friday.