2016 is here at last. Well... almost. The first presidential candidate to campaign in Maine will be at the Cross Insurance Center in Portland on Monday, July 6.

United States Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, is picking up momentum across the country as a primary challenger to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Sanders, a former mayor of Burlington, has a long record of outspoken liberalism, and is running as a Democrat for President. According to reports from Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders is outperforming other candidates by drawing standing-room-only crowds at his campaign stops.

On the campaign trail, Sanders is known for hammering his economic message and highlighting what he calls the "rigged" economy, a system that he sees as benefiting only the "billionaire class." He has been described as a populist, and his authentic brand of politics might just be catching on.

Nationally, Hillary Clinton still has a big lead in both name recognition and overall support.

But at this point in 2007, nobody really thought Barack Obama could beat her, either.

And remember: These are just the Democrats. The Republican field is growing by the day.

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