“I would rather be in Iowa today. There’s a caucus there in two-and-a-half weeks. I’d rather be in New Hampshire and Nevada and so forth. But I swore a constitutional oath as a United States senator to do my job and I’m here to do my job,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told The Hill after the senators were sworn in on Thursday.
The Iowa caucuses are slated for Feb. 3, and the New Hampshire primary is eight days later.
Other than Sanders, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are required by the Constitution to sit in their seats without any electronic devices during the trial. They will also have to work six days per week in Washington, allowing for only Sundays off.
That means candidates such as Vice President Joe Biden, a frontrunner in several polls, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Andrew Yang will be able to take advantage of being the only candidates on the ground.
Klobuchar, who has been trying to emerge from the single digits in polling, said that “we really don’t have a choice.”
“I have a constitutional duty, but I can do two things at once,” she told CNN in October. “There [are] many ways to reach out to people.”
Warren made a similar statement to reporters last year, saying that it’s part of her Constitutional duty. In recent weeks, her campaign has lulled and she has dropped to third place and is behind Sanders and Biden in several polls.
“There are some things that are more important than politics, and if we have an impeachment proceeding going on, I will be there,” Warren told reporters in New Hampshire. “Impeachment is something I take very seriously. I take no joy in this. But this is about a constitutional oath that every single member of the Senate took to—uphold the Constitution of the United States,” she added.
Bennet, who hasn’t had favorable poll numbers throughout his campaign, offered the bluntest response among the crop of Democratic candidates.
“I think it is going to be disruptive,” he told “Meet the Press” on Jan. 12. “And there’s nothing I can do about it. So I choose not to worry about it. We have, all of us, a constitutional responsibility that we have to fulfill, here. And I take my oath seriously. And I will. And in the meantime, I’m spending every single second I can in New Hampshire, trying to fulfill my commitment to hold an additional 50 town halls here.”
But a Sanders campaign adviser, Jeff Weaver, said that Sanders has a unique advantage over the other candidates: A private jet.
“They’re not going to be meeting at night [for the trial], so we can obviously fly from D.C. to states and hold events in the evening and fly back, you know, so he can be back in the morning to do his work in the Senate,” Sanders campaign adviser Jeff Weaver told NBC News in early January. “He’s an energetic candidate,” Weaver added. “He has a very vigorous schedule, and, you know, he can do that.”
For now, it’s not clear how long the Senate impeachment trial will last. In the late 1990s, the Senate took five weeks to acquit former President Bill Clinton.