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 BennetSenate Democrats want Warren to talk costs on 'Medicare for All' The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Bennet reintroduces bill to ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists MORE (D-Colo.). The week before it was former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview Yang cautions Democrats: Impeachment might not be 'successful' Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment MORE. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock may be the next candidate to drop into the race. New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 2020 Presidential Candidates Cooperate, or else: New York threatens fines to force people to help block immigration enforcement 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 ClintonDemocrats dig in ahead of Supreme Court ruling on 'Dreamers' Even with likely Trump impeachment, Democrats face uphill climb to win presidency House Democrats risk overriding fairness factor on 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 HickenlooperThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump seeks distance from Syria crisis Gardner dodges questions about Trump's call for Biden probe 2020 Presidential Candidates 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 SandersOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally 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 WarrenTrump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders MORE of Massachusetts, Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris reacts to supporter who got tattoo of her handwriting Even with likely Trump impeachment, Democrats face uphill climb to win presidency Harris campaign releases web video highlighting opposition to death penalty MORE of California, Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGabbard hits back at 'queen of warmongers' Clinton The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Former public school teacher: Strikes 'wake-up call' for Democratic Party MORE of New Jersey, Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDeVos calls Democratic presidential hopeful's education plans 'crazy' Senate Democrats want Warren to talk costs on 'Medicare for All' Biden struggles to reverse fall MORE from Minnesota and New Yorker Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs Senate confirms Trump's Air Force secretary pick 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 KavanaughOn The Money: Supreme Court takes up challenge to CFPB | Warren's surge brings scrutiny to wealth tax | Senators eye curbs on Trump emergency powers Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to consumer agency First-generation American launches Senate campaign against Booker 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 InsleeOvernight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate John Kerry calls out lack of climate questions at debate CNN catches heat for asking candidates about Ellen, Bush friendship at debate 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 GabbardJill Stein: 'I am not a Russian spy' Trump criticizes Clinton for suggesting Jill Stein was Russian asset Yang defends Gabbard: She 'deserves much more respect' MORE representing Hawaii, Seth MoultonSeth Moulton2020 Presidential Candidates Rep. Joe Kennedy has history on his side in Senate bid Mass shootings have hit 158 House districts so far this year MORE of Massachusetts, Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellMulvaney admission deals blow to White House impeachment defense Testimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Lawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump MORE of California and Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart The Hill's 12:30 Report: Hunter Biden speaks out amid Ukraine controversy MORE from Ohio are running. The field includes two mayors, Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSenate Democrats want Warren to talk costs on 'Medicare for All' Sanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally Biden seeks to fundraise off fact he's running out of money MORE of South Bend, Indi. and Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamWayne Messam raised this quarter for presidential run The Hill's 12:30 Report: Hunter Biden speaks out amid Ukraine controversy 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the October showdown 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 YangYang cautions Democrats: Impeachment might not be 'successful' Yang defends Gabbard: She 'deserves much more respect' Super PAC seeks to spend more than million supporting Yang MORE and Harris, which may be the function of Asians being the fastest growing minority group in the country.  Julian CastroJulian CastroKrystal Ball rips media for going 'all-in' on Buttigieg's debate performance 2020 Democrats recognize Pronouns Day Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart 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.)