Bennet
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Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., speaks at the 2019 Essence Festival at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Saturday, July 6, 2019, in New Orleans.

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The best Democrat to beat President Donald Trump next year is a Coloradan well back in the pack, says George F. Will — and not the Coloradan that Will once championed.

"If Democrats are as serious as they say they are about defeating Donald Trump, [Michael] Bennet should be their nominee," the political columnist writes in The Washington Post.

Will is one of America's foremost conservative commentators, but no fan of Trump -- "It must be misery to awaken to another day of being Donald Trump," he commented in January.

In his latest column, the bow-tied pundit finds in the top four Democratic candidates -- former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris -- a "propensity for self-inflicted wounds. When replayed in Trump's negative ads, what they have already said might be sufficient to re-elect him."

Will observes that "Bennet has won two Senate races in a swing state that is evenly divided between Democrats, Republicans and independents. He can distinguish between what he calls 'the Twitter version of the Democratic Party' and the 'actual' version."

He cites Bennet's background in business and as Denver's school superintendent. And the Coloradan, says Will, "checks a requisite number of progressive boxes" on issues like climate change and outrage over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, without "frightening and mystifying voters with plans ... to eliminate their private health insurance."

Interestingly, Will did not pick Bennet's Colorado rival, John Hickenlooper, as his go-to Democrat to beat Trump -- interestingly given that the columnist made a splash by touting Hickenlooper as "Colorado's fresh brew" in 2011 when he was governor, helping to raise his profile as a potential national candidate.

Like Hickenlooper, Bennet at this point can use all the help he can get, given his consistently low ranking in the polls.

Bennet's campaign said July 3 it had raised $2.8 million in the second quarter (plus $700,000 in leftover Senate campaign funds), far less than South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's $24.8 million and Biden's $21.5 million. (Trump raised $105 million during the three-month period.)

As for Hickenlooper, the unofficial word via the Reuters news service (ahead of Monday's deadline for reporting fundraising totals) is that the campaign brought in just $1.1 million for Q2, half the total of the previous quarter.

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Managing Editor, Colorado Politics

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