by Garrett Frisk
Yesterday, president Joe Biden officially launched his bid for a second term. He quickly earned the backing of his longtime friend and onetime foe, independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders confirmed that he would not run for president as he did in 2016 and 2020, but the 81-year-old left open the question of whether he would run for re-election to the Senate in 2024. If he chose to run, Sanders, currently the second most popular Senator in the country, would be almost guaranteed to win a fourth term. However, one candidate has already launched a longshot campaign, and those familiar with Vermont politics almost certainly know her name.
Cris Ericson is an artist and marijuana legalization advocate who lives in Chester, a town in Windsor County, Vermont. Ericson has run for office in Vermont every two years since 2002, always unsuccessfully. At various points she has run under the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Progressive Party, Marijuana Party, and even as an independent. In 2020, the signature requirement to run for statewide office was lowered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Ericson took advantage of this to win the Progressive Party's nomination for multiple statewide offices. The Progressive Party denounced Ericson, accusing her of holding racist views, but she continued in every race. In the State Auditor race, where there was no Republican on the ballot, Ericson was able to notch her best-ever general election vote share, taking over 15% of the vote.
Now, Ericson is back, and is campaigning for U.S. Senate as an independent. Her campaign website can be found here. This is far from Ericson's first Senate campaign; in fact, she has run in every Vermont Senate race since 2004, with the exception of the 2018 race. Her highest vote share came in the 2016 race, where she took nearly 3% of the general election vote as the Marijuana Party nominee.