Is Bernie Sanders Related to Colonel Sanders? The Truth Behind the Shared Name

Many people wonder if there is any connection between the two famous Sanders in American history: Bernie Sanders, the senator and presidential candidate, and Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The answer is no, they are not related at all. Here is why.

Who is Bernie Sanders?

Bernie Sanders is a politician and activist who has been serving as the senior United States senator from Vermont since 2007. He is also a self-described democratic socialist and a leader of the progressive movement in the country. He has run for president twice, in 2016 and 2020, as an independent candidate who caucused with the Democratic Party.

Bernie Sanders was born on September 8, 1941, in New York City. He is the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia. He has a brother named Larry Sanders, who is also a politician and activist in the United Kingdom. Bernie Sanders attended Brooklyn College and the University of Chicago, where he was involved in civil rights and anti-war protests. He moved to Vermont in 1968 and worked as a carpenter, filmmaker, writer, and teacher before entering politics.

Who is Colonel Sanders?

Colonel Sanders is the nickname of Harland David Sanders, the businessman and restaurateur who founded Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), one of the most popular fast food chains in the world. He is also known for his iconic white suit, black tie, and goatee.

Colonel Sanders was born on September 9, 1890, in Henryville, Indiana. He was the oldest of three children born to a farmer and a housewife. He had a difficult childhood, as his father died when he was five years old, and his mother had to work in a tomato cannery. He learned to cook for his siblings at an early age. He had various jobs throughout his life, such as steam engine stoker, insurance salesman, and filling station operator.

He started selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in North Corbin, Kentucky, during the Great Depression. He developed his secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices and his patented method of cooking chicken in a pressure fryer. He recognized the potential of franchising his restaurant concept and opened the first KFC franchise in Utah in 1952. He sold the company to a group of investors in 1964 for $2 million but remained as its brand ambassador and symbol until his death in 1980.

Why do they share the same surname?

Sanders is a common surname that derives from the medieval name Sander or Alexander, meaning “defender of men”. It is of English, Scottish, German, or Jewish origin. According to, there are more than 600,000 people with the surname Sanders in the United States.

There is no evidence that Bernie Sanders and Colonel Sanders are related by blood or marriage. They have different ethnic backgrounds, different birthplaces, different family histories, and different political views. They just happen to share a common name that reflects their diverse heritage.

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