Political News

Michael Bennet ends 2020 presidential campaign

Posted February 11, 2020 8:38 p.m. EST
Updated February 11, 2020 8:45 p.m. EST

— Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet ended his 2020 presidential campaign on Tuesday in a speech to supporters in New Hampshire.

"I think it's fitting for us to end the campaign tonight," Bennet told a crowd in Concord.

He continued: "I really want to say that I appreciate the fact that you gave me a chance here, and you're giving all the other candidates a chance. I wish all those candidates well that are going beyond New Hampshire."

Bennet's candidacy sputtered from the outset, with the Colorado senator failing to qualify for the majority of Democratic debates. But the Democrat stuck in the race long after his momentum stalled, turning his operation almost entirely to New Hampshire as it became clear he did not have a path to victory in Iowa.

Bennet, the seventh member of the United States Senate to run for president this cycle, looked to set himself apart as a candidate with the ability to win narrow races, something he did in his first Senate race in 2010, and his ability to work with Republicans.

The senator regularly attacked the left wing of the Democratic Party, publicly worrying that moving the party too far to the left would not only help Trump but hurt Democratic efforts to win over voters who stayed home in 2016.

"I think right now the Democratic Party doesn't stand for very much at the national level with respect to what the American people think," he said when he announced his bid. "But this is an opportunity to show what we stand for, for us to have a competition of ideas. I think it is phenomenal we have got as diverse an array of candidates as we have in all respects and that we got the number that we have. A process like this is long overdue in the Democratic Party."

But the Democratic electorate showed little interest in that pitch, despite the fact that Bennet raised questions about "Medicare for All" before they became the centerpiece of attacks on the sweeping health care policy by other moderate candidates.

"I'm concerned about that bill," he told CNN in early 2019, noting he worries the bill would do to employer-backed insurance plans that most Americans have. "I don't think that is a good starting point."

Bennet, near the end of his campaign, was barely registering in state or national polls, but he continued campaigning with a particular focus on New Hampshire, where the candidate pledged to hold 50 townhalls before the February primary.

Bennet entered the race in early April. The senator had intended to get in earlier but delayed his announcement after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and subsequently given a clean bill of health.

The high point of Bennet's campaign came when he slammed Vice President Joe Biden for delivering the American people a bad deal in 2012 when he negotiated a deal on taxes and spending with Sen. Mitch McConnell. Bennet voted against the deal and argued during that the deal was a bad one.

"That was a great deal for Mitch McConnell," Bennet said, "and a terrible deal for America."

The attack did little to hurt Biden, however, as he remains a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination and Bennet is ending his bid.

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