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 BennetRules for first Democratic primary debates announced Inslee unveils plan to fight fossil fuel pollution, ban fracking The Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck MORE (D-Colo.). The week before it was former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Biden to debate for first time as front-runner Rules for first Democratic primary debates announced MORE. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock may be the next candidate to drop into the race. New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioRules for first Democratic primary debates announced Press: Democrats form circular firing squad 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown 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 ClintonThe Evergreen State and the soul of the Democratic Party Biden, Eastland and rejecting the cult of civility Democrats not keen to reignite Jerusalem embassy fight 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.

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Bennet’s political career is closely bound to the fortunes of one of the other Democratic presidential candidates, former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn Wright HickenlooperRules for first Democratic primary debates announced Inslee unveils plan to fight fossil fuel pollution, ban fracking The Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck 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 SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Biden to debate for first time as front-runner Rules for first Democratic primary debates announced 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 WarrenAbigail Disney: 'We're creating a super-class' of rich people Is Big Tech biased? The Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations MORE of Massachusetts, Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Biden to debate for first time as front-runner Rules for first Democratic primary debates announced MORE of California, Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBiden to debate for first time as front-runner Rules for first Democratic primary debates announced Press: Democrats form circular firing squad MORE of New Jersey, Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharRules for first Democratic primary debates announced Senate set to bypass Iran fight amid growing tensions Sanders unveils student debt plan amid rivalry with Warren MORE from Minnesota and New Yorker Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandRules for first Democratic primary debates announced Juan Williams: Warren on the rise 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown 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 KavanaughStephen King: 'It's time for Susan Collins to go' EXCLUSIVE — Trump: I would fill Supreme Court vacancy before 2020 election Supreme Court rules against newspaper over information request, giving confidentiality win to businesses 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 InsleeRules for first Democratic primary debates announced Overnight Energy: Inslee unveils plan to fight fossil fuel pollution | Poll finds Biden top choice for climate-minded voters | Trump USDA reportedly buried climate warnings Biden is top choice for climate-minded 2020 voters: Poll 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 GabbardRules for first Democratic primary debates announced What do millennials want? 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown MORE representing Hawaii, Seth MoultonSeth Wilbur MoultonRules for first Democratic primary debates announced Moulton says new Trump rape accusation furthers need for impeachment proceedings 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown MORE of Massachusetts, Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellRules for first Democratic primary debates announced What do millennials want? 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown MORE of California and Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanRules for first Democratic primary debates announced What do millennials want? 2020 Democrat: 'My DM's are open and I actually read & respond' MORE from Ohio are running. The field includes two mayors, Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Biden to debate for first time as front-runner Rules for first Democratic primary debates announced MORE of South Bend, Indi. and Wayne MessamWayne Martin MessamRules for first Democratic primary debates announced 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown Bullock to participate in local town halls instead of Democratic debates MORE of Miramar, Fla. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is another possibility.

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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 to give ,000 a month to Twitter user on Colbert Rules for first Democratic primary debates announced What do millennials want? MORE and Harris, which may be the function of Asians being the fastest growing minority group in the country.  Julian CastroJulian CastroRules for first Democratic primary debates announced What do millennials want? Castro pushes back on O'Rourke criticism of plan to decriminalize border crossings 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.)