Bennet enters 2020 race

Bennet enters 2020 race
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetLawmakers can't reconcile weakening the SALT cap with progressive goals How Sen. Graham can help fix the labor shortage with commonsense immigration reform For true American prosperity, make the child tax credit permanent MORE (D-Colo.) launched his presidential bid Thursday morning, joining a crowded primary field of more than 20 contenders vying to take on President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE in 2020.

The Colorado lawmaker announced his plans on "CBS This Morning."

"My plan is to run for president," he said, adding that he would focus on restoring opportunities for Americans and integrity in government.

“I think this country faces two enormous challenges,” he added. “One is a lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans, and the other is the need to restore integrity to our government.”

“If we continue to go down the path we’re going, and this isn’t just about President Trump, it’s about the politics that existed before he got there ... we’re going to be the first generation of Americans to leave less opportunity, not more, to the next generation.” 

Bennet confirmed the announcement on Twitter.

“We cannot be the first generation to leave less to our kids, not more," he said. "That’s why I’m running for President.

“Let’s build opportunity for every American and restore integrity to our government.”  

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Bennet said in April that he would pursue the presidency if he beat his prostate cancer diagnosis. Bennet was declared cancer free later that month following a successful surgery.

The senator made headlines earlier this year when he blasted Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate MORE (R-Texas) regarding the government shutdown in a now-viral 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.

The Colorado senator, who was appointed to his seat in 2009, gained some notoriety as a member of the so-called Gang of Eight, the bipartisan group that crafted a sweeping immigration reform bill in 2013. The bill never made it to the House.

Although he has been known as a moderate for bucking Democrats on issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, Bennet has moved closer to his colleagues to the left since Trump’s election.

Bennet, the 22nd Democrat to announce he is pursuing the party's nomination, joins many of his Senate colleagues including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCalifornia Democrats warn of low turnout in recall election Pelosi disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans Warren hits the airwaves for Newsom ahead of recall election MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet Angst grips America's most liberal city Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - CDC equates Delta to chickenpox in contagiousness Harris's bad polls trigger Democratic worries Why in the world are White House reporters being told to mask up again? MORE (D-Calif.).

He's the second Colorado lawmaker to join the race following former Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperManchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas moratorium It's time for US to get serious about cleaning up space junk Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor MORE (D).

In 2003, Hickenlooper hired Bennet as his chief of staff when he was elected Denver mayor.

Two years later, Bennet became the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, a position he held until his appointment to the Senate.

The Republican National Committee blasted Bennet's presidential chances after his announcement.

“Michael Bennet is just another tax-and-spend liberal with no chance of becoming president," Republican National Committee communications director Michael Ahrens said in on Twitter.

"Bennet hasn't gotten anything done after more than a decade in the Senate, and unfortunately for him, the ‘unknown, no-accomplishments lane’ of the Democratic primary is already full.”

Updated at 9:04 a.m.