Bernie Sanders, the 77-year-old independent, self-described “Democratic Socialist” United States senator from Vermont, won re-election to a third, six-year term on Tuesday, according to a projection by the Washington Post. Sanders easily put away Republican Lawrence Zupan and a field of seven other candidates.
Sanders, as the Inquisitr covered, came seemingly out of nowhere to run a surprisingly strong candidacy in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary race, but ultimately lost to eventual nominee Hillary Clinton.
Sanders was criticized for waiting four full weeks to give Clinton his endorsement, according to the Washington Post, in contrast to Clinton herself who in 2008 waited only four days after the final primary elections to endorse presumptive nominee Barack Obama.
Sanders was first elected to the senate in 2006, after serving in the U.S. House since 1990. He has never faced a series opponent in his Senate races, according to PBS. Zupan had no political experience before taking on Sanders in the 2018 election, instead running on his record as a businessman who often did deals overseas.
“He negotiated trade contracts with the Chinese before it was fashionable. He opened up the Soviet Union to art exhibitions previously prohibited for world famous artist Peter Max. He set up packing plants in foreign countries to source scarce goods for American industry,” according to his Zupan For Senate campaign website.
In early returns, Sanders was leading with 61.6 percent of the vote, according to The Post. Zupan had garnered 31.6 percent and Brad Peacock, another independent candidate, was coming in third with just 3.4 percent of the vote as of 8 p.m. Eastern Time with just over seven percent of all Vermont precincts reporting.
Sanders spent almost no time campaigning in his home state, according to an Associated Press report, instead choosing to travel around the country making campaign stops in support of other candidates whom he chose to endorse.
In other early results, Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine won re-election to his senate seat, according to NBC News. Kaine, the former governor of the state, has served in the senate since 2013 and was Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate in the 2016 general election.
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, another progressive Democrat, also eased into a third term in the Senate, according to an NBC News projection. The 65-year-old Brown breezed past Republican congressional representative Jim Renacci, a businessman who loaned $4 million to his own campaign — but never spent that money, according to the Columbus Dispatch.