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

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

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, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? MORE (D-Colo.). The week before it was former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Hill Reporter Rafael Bernal: Biden tries to salvage Latino Support Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report MORE. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock may be the next candidate to drop into the race. New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape CNN to host de Blasio, Bullock town halls 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 Clinton3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Buckingham Palace: Any suggestion Prince Andrew was involved in Epstein scandal 'abhorrent' The magic of majority rule in elections 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bennet’s political career is closely bound to the fortunes of one of the other Democratic presidential candidates, former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn Wright HickenlooperThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down 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 SandersTop Sanders adviser: Warren isn't competing for 'same pool of voters' Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Top aide Jeff Weaver lays out Sanders's path to victory 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 WarrenTop Sanders adviser: Warren isn't competing for 'same pool of voters' Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall In shift, top CEOs say shareholder value not top goal MORE of Massachusetts, Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters MORE of California, Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report F-bombs away: Why lawmakers are cursing now more than ever MORE of New Jersey, Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report Poll: Nearly 4 in 5 say they will consider candidates' stances on cybersecurity MORE from Minnesota and New Yorker Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters F-bombs away: Why lawmakers are cursing now more than ever White House offers reassurances amid recession fears as 2020 candidates sound alarm 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 KavanaughLewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Cook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' Sen. Susan Collins: Israel should allow Omar, Tlaib to visit 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 InsleeEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Andrew Yang promises mass pardon to those imprisoned for nonviolent marijuana offenses 13 states file lawsuit over Trump 'public charge' rule 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 GabbardNative American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment The US can't seem to live without Afghanistan 2020 Democrats release joint statement ahead of Trump's New Hampshire rally MORE representing Hawaii, Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur MoultonBiden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment 2020 Democrats urge Israel to reverse decision banning Omar, Tlaib visit MORE of Massachusetts, Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellHickenlooper ends presidential bid Scenes from Iowa State Fair: Surging Warren, Harris draw big crowds Nadler hits gas on impeachment MORE of California and Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanBiden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report Tim Ryan jokes he's having 'dance-off' with Andrew Yang The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape MORE from Ohio are running. The field includes two mayors, Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters MORE of South Bend, Indi. and Wayne MessamWayne Martin Messam2020 Democrats release joint statement ahead of Trump's New Hampshire rally The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump claims support in Congress for background checks Moulton campaign makes formal case to DNC to be added to debate stage MORE of Miramar, Fla. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is another possibility.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 YangEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report Tim Ryan jokes he's having 'dance-off' with Andrew Yang MORE and Harris, which may be the function of Asians being the fastest growing minority group in the country.  Julian CastroJulian CastroBiden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report Castro releases plan to raise taxes on the rich, provide relief to working and middle class Julián Castro on Trump immigration rule: He 'just wants a nation in his own image' 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.)