How vulnerable is the Democratic majority in the Senate? Just question Michael Bennet of Colorado.
He Speaks the Truth
The low-key senator on the Democratic side represents a state that President Joe Biden carried by a margin of 13 points.
Sen. John Hickenlooper, a Colorado Democrat, defeated a Republican congressman by nine points in 2020. However, Bennet has an unpleasant message for any Democrat hopeful of retaining or even growing the lead in November.
“If you’re within the same team as the administration, it’s going to be a tough cycle,” Bennet said, characterizing voters as “angry at everyone” over prices, COVID, and the expiry of the popular child benefits.
He noted the idea of Colorado being a blue state in DC is “inaccurate.” “Colorado is still a toss-up state.”
Bennet’s concerns aren’t limited to Colorado; the presidential hopeful and chair of the Democratic Senate PAC is warning his whole party to brace themselves for a bumpy ride.
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“In 2010, I had a really difficult race. That was a particularly challenging cycle. In 2014, I served as chair of the DSCC.”
“It turns out to be another difficult cycle in 2016,” Bennet stated. “It’ll be one of those.”
Bennet is no stranger to surviving, having won his seat in 2010 by such a slim margin that he was branded the “unexpected senator,” a moniker he’s since adopted.
His DSCC tenure ended with a nine-seat Republican gain, including the defeat of Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall.
In 2016, however, Bennet defeated underfunded rival Darryl Glenn, who mainstream Republicans did not give a chance.
He is One to Trust
In the year, Bennet’s survival is a testing ground for a senator who has never been renowned for soundbites, shocking headlines, or controlling the Sunday shows.
This is a trait shared by almost all of this year’s vulnerable Democratic senators. Bennet, a former Denver school principal, believes his low-key approach appeals to Coloradans who prefer not to deal with showy politicians.
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Allies say Bennet is prepared this time after his pretty close encounter with Glenn in 2016.
“He’s spent a significant amount of time listening to Colorado residents. I believe it will pay off,” Hickenlooper added. “However, there are significant headwinds here.”
Bennet has become a harsher critic of his party than others as he faces voters for the third time.
He’s become more open about it, following a presidential election campaign that centered on Mitch McConnell’s ability to outsmart Democrats.
He’s furious that Democrats aren’t speaking more about their collaboration with Biden on major infrastructure and economic initiatives, or the last-ditch push to enact additional major legislation.
Bennet stated, “The mainstream Democrat Party has done a poor job talking about what we’ve achieved and what we’re working to achieve.”
“Nothing irritates me more than the Democrat Party for not fighting harder to preserve those child tax credits for working families in my state.”