Michael Bennet Turns Down an Opportunity to Be the Dems' Top Senate Power Broker

November 2010

In the coming years, the politician at the helm of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will have both enormous responsibility and sway. He or she will be responsible for ensuring that the Democratic losses from this election cycle don't continue during the presidential election two years from now. The sway comes in terms of deciding how—or rather, on whom—to spend the big national-party campaign money. But given the chance to grab the job, Colorado's Michael Bennet, fresh from his narrow victory over Republican Ken Buck, has said no. As Bennet tells Fox 31, "I don't have any objection to hard work, but I want to focus on the economy, Colorado, the debt, and the deficit. I think that'll be enough to keep my hands full."

Politico thinks Bennet, the former chief of Denver Public Schools, would have brought some benefits to the job as a "respected figure in Washington and among major Democratic donors." And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada hoped Bennet would be game for the position, reports The Washington Post, after several Dems with more experience turned it down, including past chairman Chuck Schumer of New York and current chairman Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who is up for re-election in 2012. Attention is now on Senator Patty Murray from Washington state. Twenty-one Democratic incumbent senators will be up for re-election in 2012, compared with just 10 Republicans. Moreover, two independents who lean Democratic will also be up for re-election two years from now.

Unfortunately, The Denver Post points out, media consumers won't be getting any breaks from the barrage of political commercials between now and then, "as ongoing ads [warn] about cap-and-trade or health-care bills—part of a new 'perpetual campaign' fueled by bottomless business donors."