Michael Bennet says he intends to run for president if he is cancer free

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' Senate Democrats demand White House fire controversial head of public lands agency Next crisis, keep people working and give them raises MORE (D-Colo.) said Wednesday that he plans to run for president in 2020 if he beats his recent cancer diagnosis.

In an interview with The Colorado Independent, Bennet revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer last month as he readied to make an announcement for his candidacy.

“The idea was to announce sometime in April,” Bennet told the Independent. “That was the plan. We hired some staff. We interviewed people for positions in New Hampshire and Iowa. And then I went for the physical. In my last physical, my PSA was high. They did a biopsy, and it was clear. But this time, it was not clear."

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“That was 2-3 weeks ago. I was in San Francisco. Then the question became: Is this still something I wanted to do? I could answer the question in two ways. Maybe this would be a good time to give it up and go do something else. And the other was whether I could continue to run. I found myself hoping that I could run. That’s what the doctors have said."

Bennet said he hoped to be able to recuperate quickly because doctors found the cancer early.

“I’m 54,” he said. “That’s relatively young. It seemed to make sense to have the prostate removed … I’d be recuperating for 7-10 days and would need some rest after that. The hope is then I’ll be cancer-free and able to move on. If I’m not cancer free, then I’d have to make another decision.”

Bennet released a statement Wednesday evening confirming the diagnosis. He wrote that his surgery to remove his prostate is scheduled for soon after Congress's spring recess, which begins April 11.

"Late last month, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. While hearing news like this is never easy, I am fortunate it was detected early, and as a result, my prognosis is good," Bennet said in the statement. "During the upcoming Senate recess, I will have surgery in Colorado and return to work following a brief recovery.”

Asked why he decided to run, Bennet told the paper that after he finished writing his book “The Land of the Flickering Lights,” he determined that his ideas were not being expressed adequately in the Democratic primary.

“I finished the book. I didn’t think the case that I made in the book was being articulated by anyone in the field. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think I had a chance to win," the lawmaker explained. "I think, like everyone else does, it’s a long shot. But I think everyone in the field is a long shot.”

Bennet’s office referred The Hill to his remarks published in the Independent.

The senator, considered a moderate, made headlines earlier this year when he blasted Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Cruz blocks amended resolution honoring Ginsburg over language about her dying wish Trump argues full Supreme Court needed to settle potential election disputes MORE (R-Texas) regarding the government shutdown in a Senate floor speech. Bennet unloaded on Cruz after he joined other Republican lawmakers in introducing a bill to pay members of the Coast Guard during the partial shutdown but not reopen the government.

If Bennet does launch a 2020 White House bid, he'll be competing with several prominent politicians for the Democratic nomination, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump faces backlash after not committing to peaceful transition of power Bernie Sanders: 'This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump stokes fears over November election outcome MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHundreds of lawyers from nation's oldest African American sorority join effort to fight voter suppression Biden picks up endorsement from progressive climate group 350 Action 3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing MORE (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeJimmy Carter says his son smoked pot with Willie Nelson on White House roof O'Rourke endorses Kennedy for Senate: 'A champion for the values we're most proud of' 2020 Democrats do convention Zoom call MORE (D-Texas).