When this author and blogger published yesterday about the impending announcement of Presidential candidacy by Montana Governor Steve Bullock, he did not know or imagine that Colorado Senator Michael Bennet would “jump the gun” and announce, probably two weeks before Bullock is expected to announce for President.
In any case, once Bullock jumps in the race, with Bennet already now in, we will have 22 Democratic Presidential candidates, the most ever.
However, one can be sure that once the debates begin in late June, and go on for every month, and once the question of money, polls, and adequate staff support start to kick in, we can expect that by the fall, probably half of the group will not be competing in the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary and beyond.
The newest entrant is the 7th sitting US Senator to announce, and has been in the Senate for ten years, first appointed to replace Ken Salazar as he became the Secretary of the Interior under President Barack Obama a decade ago.
Bennet graduated from Wesleyan University, and then Yale Law School, where he was editor in chief of the Yale Law Journal.
Previously, Bennet had been the Chief of Staff to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, before the latter became Colorado Governor. Ironically, now Bennet is competing with his former boss for the Presidency. He was Superintendant of the Denver Public School System from 2005-2009 before his appointment to the Senate. He was elected to a full term in 2010, and reelected in 2016.
Bennet’s father was a major figure in Democratic politics, having worked for Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton; and his grandfather was an adviser to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The father also was President and CEO of National Public Radio, and President of Wesleyan University, so Bennet comes from a very distinguished background.
When Bennet won his second term in 2016, he gained more votes than Hillary Clinton, who won the state. He also won more votes than any Democrat in Colorado history in a state wide race, and more votes in rural counties than any Democrat in Colorado history.
Bennet has been a typical Democrat in his record on voting, and has been noted for sharp attacks on Senator Ted Cruz, causing more views on C Span when he attacked Cruz in January 2019 for his hypocrisy on the federal government shutdown spurred by President Donald Trump.
Bennet was born with a Jewish mother and Christian father, and while not observant, he acknowledges his Jewish roots.
Bennet underwent what is termed as successful prostate cancer surgery in April, and says it is cured, but that could become an issue in the campaign.
The fact that he was born in New Delhi, India, while his father was an aide to the US Ambassador to India, could become an issue as well, although it seems that he was born on the US Embassy grounds, which would be US territory. This is similar to John McCain born in the Panama Canal Zone, which his dad was serving at the US Navy Air Station in 1936.
Whether Bennet, who is 54, can make a dent in the Presidential campaign is yet to be seen, but at the moment, not perceived as likely. He portrays himself as a pragmatist and centrist. Coming from Colorado, a key purple state that has gone to the Democrats lately, makes him significant, although John Hickenlooper, his former boss, is also competing with his aide for the Presidency.