Politico updates on the fortunes of Colorado’s other Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet, who is working against the clock to register enough support to qualify for presidential debates set to kick off at the end of June:
The low-key Colorado Democratic senator has a relatively centrist record that may be out of step with some primary voters, a recent cancer diagnosis and no real national profile. He’s not a cable news staple and shies away from the press in the Capitol.
And Bennet’s already facing crunch time. He’s the Democratic senator most in danger of missing the first debate in June, which would mark a major setback to Bennet’s already narrow path toward breaking out in a field of 22 other prominent White House hopefuls.
In a 30-minute interview with POLITICO ahead of a swing to New Hampshire, Bennet acknowledged the steep odds of getting 65,000 donors and cracking 1 percent in the polls one more time over the next month in order to qualify for the debate stage. He wouldn’t disclose how close he is to hitting the donor threshold and declined to guarantee he could make it happen.
Former Gov. John Hickenlooper has already met the threshold to appear on stage in Miami in June 26 or 27–with 20 candidates participating, the debate is being necessarily broken up into two groups. A strong debate performance by Hickenlooper is broadly considered to be essential if he wants to move up in this historically large pack. For Bennet, whose “slow burn” campaign has made little attempt to quickly register in national polls, it’s less certain whether appearing in the early debates are as important.
“He is realistic about the big field,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a close friend who worked on health care legislation with Bennet. “The way he looks at it: … with a field so big it’s not like anybody is a prohibitive favorite.” [Pols emphasis]
For as long as that’s true it gives hope not just to Bennet’s campaign but the other nearly two dozen Democrats who have filed to run for President in 2020. With that said, favorites will emerge, and any candidate without a plan for being on the positive side of that consolidation will be sidelined long before the early primaries.
Until then, you can’t rule anybody out. We stopped doing that when Donald Trump became President.