Michael Bennet must find a way to stand out in the crowd

Michael Bennet must find a way to stand out in the crowd
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Just when you thought it’s safe to go back into the water, another Democratic presidential candidate takes the plunge. The latest candidate to dip his toes into the water is Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators MORE (D-Colo.). The week before it was former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock may be the next candidate to drop into the race. New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge New York City bans cashless businesses How far will New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio go to protect undocumented aliens? MORE is considering a run.

Bennet’s family has a rich political pedigree. The senator from the Rocky Mountain State was born in New Delhi in 1964. His father, Douglas Bennet was an aide to the American ambassador to India. His father also served as an aide to Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonFox News poll: Half of Americans say Trump should be convicted and removed Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to Trump tweet, Senate trial witnesses Fox's Wallace confronts Dershowitz with clip arguing crime not necessary for impeachment MORE and Vice President Hubert Humphrey. His grandfather was an economic adviser to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His brother James Bennet is the editorial page editor for the New York Times.


Bennet’s political career is closely bound to the fortunes of one of the other Democratic presidential candidates, former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperFor a healthy aging workforce policy, look to Colorado Mitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate Hickenlooper raised .8 million for Colorado Senate bid in fourth quarter of 2019 MORE. During Hickenlooper’s tenure as mayor of Denver, Bennet was the mayor’s chief of staff from 2003 until 2005 and then served as the Denver superintendent of public schools.

He was appointed to the U.S Senate in 2009 to serve out the term of Sen. Ken Salazar who became secretary of Interior in the Obama Administration. He won the Senate seat on his own in 2010 and was re-elected in 2016.

Presidential priorities

Bennet was the managing director of the investment firm, Anschutz in Denver before he entered the political arena, so he is not a firebreather by any stretch of the imagination. He has a relatively moderate voting record in the Senate. He sees himself as a “pragmatic idealist” He has tried to reach across party lines. In 2013, he was a member of the Gang of 8, a bipartisan group of senators who crafted a compromise on the contentious immigration issue. But compromise is not in fashion in Washington and the effort failed. 

He does not support “Medicare for All.” Rather he would allow Americans to opt into Medicare if they choose to do so. The senator’s own health could be an impediment to his campaign. Bennet announced last month that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had surgery which his office said was successful. He said that his medical problem inspired him to make health care reform an essential issue in his presidential campaign.

Bennet will build upon his business and managerial experience in his quest for the presidency. Bennet believes the U.S. faces enormous challenges like the lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans. 

His presidential priorities would be an opt-in government-run health insurance system, tax cuts for families with children and increased spending on education.

A face in the crowd 

The size of the Democratic field is 22 and counting. This could be awkward since there are only 20 spots available for the Democratic presidential debate on June 26. 

The Democratic presidential pool is like Noah’s Ark; there are two or more of everything. 

The presence of so many Democratic candidates creates redundancies and makes it difficult for the senator from Colorado or any other candidate with the exceptions of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden to stand out.

U.S. senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination could be a category on Jeopardy. There are seven senators in the race, Bennet, Sanders, Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE of Massachusetts, Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Harris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' Panel: Is Kamala Harris a hypocrite for mulling a Joe Biden endorsement? MORE of California, Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Black caucus in Nevada: 'Notion that Biden has all of black vote is not true' The Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two MORE of New Jersey, Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE from Minnesota and New Yorker Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandGOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE.  In addition, two former senators are in the fight, Biden and Mike Gravel of Alaska.

The Senate Judiciary Committee itself — which has played a prominent role in the Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughDemocrats Manchin, Jones signal they're undecided on Trump removal vote Collins walks impeachment tightrope Supreme Court sharply divided over state aid for religious schools MORE confirmation hearing and the investigation of the Mueller Report — has three members in the race, Harris, Klobuchar and Booker. There are two candidates Bennet and Hickenlooper from the Rocky Mountain State. 

There is representation from all levels of government.

Two western governors, Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeBloomberg, Steyer focus on climate change in effort to stand out Our government and public institutions must protect us against the unvaccinated Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE of Washington and Hickenlooper are running. A third, Bullock is waiting in the wings. Four members of the U.S. House of Representatives are in the race, Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardYang qualifies for New Hampshire debate stage Poll: Bernie Sanders holds 9-point lead in New Hampshire The establishment scam of 'unity' MORE representing Hawaii, Seth MoultonSeth MoultonOvernight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers Congress reacts to US assassination of Iranian general Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE of Massachusetts, Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellMartha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Enes Kanter sees political stardom — after NBA and WWE Swalwell pens op-ed comparing Trump impeachment to XYZ Affair MORE of California and Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanOffice of Technology Assessment: It's time for a second coming Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far GM among partners planning .3B battery plant in Ohio MORE from Ohio are running. The field includes two mayors, Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Buttigieg on polarization: 'We don't have to choose between being bold and being unified' Buttigieg: America 'united in mourning' Kobe Bryant's death MORE of South Bend, Indi. and Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamKey moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far Wayne Messam suspends Democratic presidential campaign 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the November forum MORE of Miramar, Fla. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is another possibility.


Nonwhite groups are well represented in the Democratic race for president. There are three black candidates, Booker, Harris and Messmer. The field includes two candidates who have Asian backgrounds, entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangButtigieg: America 'united in mourning' Kobe Bryant's death 'The worst news': Political world mourns loss of Kobe Bryant Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to Trump tweet, Senate trial witnesses MORE and Harris, which may be the function of Asians being the fastest growing minority group in the country.  Julian CastroJulian CastroThe Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements MORE, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is Latino.

Bennet is just one candidate in what seems to be a cast of thousands in the Democratic field. He will need to find his place in the sun, or he will just another anonymous face in the crowd.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Dateline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.

This is the 15th piece in a series of profiles by Bannon on 2020 Democratic hopefuls. Read his analysis on Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)Mayor Pete ButtigiegSen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourkeformer Govs. Jay Inslee and John Hickenlooper, former Vice President Joe BidenSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former HUD Secretary Julian CastroSen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)