Bernie Sanders poised to announce 2020 decision by end of February: sources

Will Sen. Bernie Sanders launch a second straight White House bid?

It’s one of the biggest remaining questions in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination -- and it could be answered in short order.

Two sources close to the independent senator from Vermont tell Fox News it’s likely Sanders could announce his 2020 plans before the end of this month.

SANDERS UNDER SIEGE AT KEY MOMENT

And they say the senator is leaning toward declaring his candidacy for president.

Sanders – once a longshot for the 2016 nomination – crushed Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, which launched him into a marathon battle with the eventual nominee that didn’t end until after the close of the primary and caucus calendar.

But this time around, as the populist firebrand on the left has mulled making another White House bid, other leading progressives have jumped into the race, crowding the lane that he owned during the 2016 primaries.

Among them is Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – who launched a presidential exploratory committee on Dec. 31 and officially launched her campaign last weekend. Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey declared their candidacies in recent weeks, as has Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.

And two of the most progressive lawmakers in the Senate – Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jeff Merkley of Oregon – are also seriously considering presidential bids.

Sanders, 77, has had to deal in recent months with a sexual harassment and mistreatment controversy stemming from his 2016 campaign staff, which elicited apologies from the senator.

But Sanders still enjoys widespread name recognition and strong support from progressives across the country. In New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the race for the White House, a steering committee of top supporters of his 2016 campaign continues to meet on a monthly basis.

SANDERS IN TOP 4 IN 2020 FIELD: POLL

And a new poll by Morning Consult of national Democrats and Democrats in the four states that kick off the primary and caucus calendar put Sanders in second place, far ahead of the rest of the ever-increasing field of candidates. The only potential candidate Sanders trailed in the survey was former Vice President Joe Biden, who also has yet to make up his mind regarding a 2020 run.