This morning’s announcement that Democratic Sen. Harry Reid would not seek re-election may have pleased many Democrats, many Democrats not named Michael Bennet, that is. Reid, a visible representation of failed Democratic policies likely saw the writing on the wall and some argue, despite Reid being an incumbent, Democrats now have a better shot at keeping the Senate seat in Nevada. But, Reid’s departure also makes Bennet’s defeat the top hunting trophy of 2016 for a cadre of wealthy donors. The black rhinoceros of the 2016 election, perhaps?
Even The Washington Post today noted:
“With Reid’s retirement, the only Democratic incumbent running in 2016 in any danger of losing is Michael Bennet. Bennet, like Reid, won an unlikely victory in 2010 — a year that was disastrous for Democrats nationally. Bennet will, once again, be a major target but it’s not at all clear yet who Republicans will field as their candidate.”
Before Reid announced his decision, he was the top target for Republicans who want to keep the U.S. Senate. Now, Bennet is front and center, and for good reason. The Washington Post noted later in the article that Bennet won in 2010, a wave year for Republicans nationally, as if that was some accomplishment. But, remember, it was a trainwreck of a year for Republicans in Colorado. Our top of the ticket was so weak, some were concerned that the Republican Party would lose its major party status here.
It was a depressing time to be a Republican in Colorado.
Yet, Michael Bennet only won in 2010 by .9% of the vote or fewer than 30,000 votes. Even after Ken Buck ended his campaign on a low note (see: Meet the Press), Bennet only won by .9%. To put it in context, that year, Democratic Governor Hickenlooper beat Dan Maes (really, a truly terrible candidate, sorry) by nearly 40 points and better-known former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo by 13.9%.
And, Michael Bennet is no John Hickenlooper. There’s no goofy “aw shucks” facade or even craggy good looks like former Sen. Udall, which is probably why Sen. Mumbles’ polling is in the tank. Bennet had better hope he can fail up to a Vice President slot, otherwise he, too, might be out of a job come November 2016.