U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is reportedly considering another presidential bid, and some Vermonters wonder if that means the high-profile candidate will again miss key Senate votes while on the campaign trail.
On Tuesday, Sanders adviser and former campaign manager Jeff Weaver told C-SPAN that Sanders "is considering another run for the presidency.”
In 2016, when his last bid for the White House was in full swing, Sanders missed a whopping 115 of 163 roll-call votes in the Senate, according to an analysis by Vermont's Seven Days newspaper.
That figure, which amounts to more than 70 percent of votes called, was higher than any of Sanders' fellow senators in that period.
And from 2014 and 2017, the total number of bills introduced by Sanders reportedly plummeted from 69 to just 18, suggesting a lack of engagement in Senate work while out campaigning.
Sanders' attendance record has mostly returned to normal since campaign season ended, and other senators who have run for president -- such as Republican Ted Cruz of Texas -- have also missed significantly more votes during their campaigns.
"The job as a senator is to represent ... the people of your state."
But Brad Peacock, a farmer who is challenging Sanders this fall, said the issue will be especially important in 2020 given Democrats' fierce opposition to Republicans in Washington.
"This next presidential election is going to be a defining moment in our country's history, so I want someone that is completely focused on that," Peacock told Vermont's Seven Days. "And the job as a senator is to represent ... the people of your state."
A poll earlier this month showed that voters in New Hampshire, a key presidential bellwether that once strongly supported Sanders, may have cooled on the Vermont senator.
The survey, conducted by Suffolk University, had Sanders trailing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., by 13 points and former Vice President Joe Biden by 7 points. Sanders was ahead of other Democratic upstarts, including U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
However, Sanders' relative absenteeism in the Senate in 2016 doesn't appear to have bothered his constituency.
An April poll conducted by Morning Consult pegged Sanders' favorability among in-state residents at 72 percent, higher than any other senator.
"It is amazing how many votes @SenSanders missed in 2016, but so far Vermonters don't seem to mind," tweeted Middlebury political science professor Matthew Dickinson.
Dickinson also noted that in announcing his re-election bid for the Senate this month, Sanders emphasized "national themes" while making a fundraising pitch.
"Reminder that congressional elections are increasingly nationalized," Dickinson tweeted.