Sen. Bernie Sanders continues his unorthodox 2016 campaign

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Democratic Party,2016 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Kelly Cohen,North Carolina,Bernie Sanders,PoliticsToday

Sen. Bernie Sanders stumped in North Carolina on Wednesday, the latest sign that his potential 2016 run for the Democratic presidential nomination will follow an unorthodox path.

The Vermont senator, an independent who aligns with Democrats, hosted a town hall forum at a Baptist church in Raleigh to discuss "the fight for economic justice."

This self-described speaking tour — according to his Facebook page — also takes him through Columbia, S.C., and Jackson, Miss. This is his second trip to North Carolina this year and comes before planned September trips to Iowa and New Hampshire.

North Carolina has not traditionally been a big stop for presidential candidates this early in the process, though that could change if the state moves its calendar or a longshot contender such as Sanders chooses to stay in the race after losses in early primary states.

It's still unknown where North Carolina will fall in the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nominating schedule.

The newly released schedule begins Feb. 1, 2016, in Iowa and continues on to New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Other states can hold their contests anywhere between March 1 to the second Tuesday in June.

Still, the state does have a highly competitive Senate race this year and Democratic voters have been unusually active in protesting the actions of the Republican-controlled state government, so a visit from Sanders could pay dividends among the Democratic base.

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