Politics & Policy

CO: Bennet Waffles on DSCC Leadership After Discussion with Reid

**Update–Bennet says no to DSCC chair:

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet has decided against chairing the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the 2012 election cycle, according to sources familiar with his decision.

Bennet, who was elected to a full six-year term last Tuesday after being appointed to the seat in early 2009, was asked to consider heading the Senate campaign arm by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.). The two men spoke by phone about the job on Tuesday.

Bennet aides did not return repeated requests for comment on his decision.[…]

Bennet’s fundraising abilities — as demonstrated in his hard-fought victory over Weld County prosecutor Ken Buck (R) on Nov. 2 — coupled with his relationships with his colleagues made him a potentially attractive choice, sources suggested.

But, coming off of a bruising campaign and with three young children, Bennet has decided to pass.

Sen. Michael Bennet’s unexpected victory in Colorado has led to plum opportunities in party leadership:

A senior Senate Democratic source told POLITICO this afternoon that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has asked Colorado Freshman Michael Bennet to head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Bennet, who won an uphill battle for election to his appointed seat, “didn’t say yes, and he didn’t say no” in the Tuesday conversation with Reid, the source said. Bennet has been on a “thank you” tour of his state in the wake of his bruising campaign but will need to decide soon on the committee post.

The case for Bennet is that the former Denver schools chief is a respected figure in Washington and among major Democratic donors and also identifies with swing state Democrats, such as Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and John Tester of Montana, who face tough elections next cycle.

A prime consideration for Bennet is whether or not he would wish to oversee 23 races (21 Democrats plus 2 independents that caucus with the party) in 2012 that could prove to be monumentally difficult to hold if voters are still dissatisfied. DSCC leadership means fundraising to maintain the current Senate makeup and recruiting candidates to oppose Republicans in the 10 remaining races. No one wants to be DSCC chair and lose the majority in the Senate–something that Bennet is keenly aware of as he weighs his options.


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