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

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBiden, Buttigieg condemn rocket attacks on Israel Press: Another billionaire need not apply Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal 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 CruzWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement Trump holds chummy meeting with Turkey's Erdoğan Overnight Defense: Trump hosts Erdoğan at White House | Says Turkish leader has 'great relationship with the Kurds' | Highlights from first public impeachment hearing 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 Sanders2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke says he 'absolutely' plans to stay in politics Krystal Ball: Buttigieg is 'the boomer candidate' Language is a weapon in political warfare — if the media play along MORE (D-Texas).