After initially delaying his presidential campaign announcement due to a cancer diagnosis, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) formally announced he is running on Thursday morning.
“I plan to run for president,” Bennet said in an interview on CBS This Morning.
While writing a book about American politics, Bennet said he “became convinced in that process that if we continue to go down the path, we’re going … to be the first generation of Americans to leave less opportunity, not more to the next generation.”
“I just need to do everything I can do to make sure we don’t do that,” he said.
Bennet explained that he believes partisan politics has been an issue in the U.S. before President Trump, but that “he has certainly made matters worse.”
Bennet, 54, was diagnosed with prostate cancer last month but said a recent surgery successfully removed the cancer, NPR reports. Bennet made his intentions to run clear in other recent interviews but said his diagnosis was an obstacle.
“The idea was to announce sometime in April,” Bennet said in an interview with the Colorado Independent. “That was the plan. We hired some staff. We interviewed people for positions in New Hampshire and Iowa. And then I went for the physical. In my last physical, my PSA was high. They did a biopsy, and it was clear. But this time, it was not clear.”
“I’m looking forward to running in 2020,” Bennet said on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper a week after being diagnosed. “This obviously was unexpected. But we caught it early. It’s something that I think we’re going to be able to treat. And I don’t think it should keep me off the trail.”
In Bennet’s first tweet about his presidential bid, he explained he is running because “we cannot be the first generation to leave less to our kids, not more.”
“That’s why I’m running for President. Let’s build opportunity for every American and restore integrity to our government,” he added.
Bennet graduated from Wesleyan University and Yale Law School. After serving in the private sector, Bennet was selected to be the superintendent of Denver Public Schools in 2005. In 2009 he was selected by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter to fill a vacated seat in the U.S. Senate. In 2010 he successfully won a campaign for a full term in the Senate and in 2016 won a reelection campaign.
Bennet is the 21st Democrat to join the presidential race in hopes of securing the Democratic nomination.
His brother, James Bennet, who is an editorial page editor for The New York Times, will recuse himself from 2020 election coverage. In a statement, the Times said James Bennet “will not discuss, assign or edit any editorials, Op-Eds, columns or other Opinion pieces focused on candidates or major issues in the campaign.”
“As long as Sen. Bennet’s campaign is active, responsibility for all political coverage will be handled by the deputy editorial page editors, Kathleen Kingsbury and James Dao,” the Times added. “Even prior to the announcement, James has not been involved in any editorial decisions related to the senator.”