By Julia Caulfield
Walking around town during the Telluride Film Festival, you might see a movie star or two. But if you were on Main Street on Friday, you may have also caught a glimpse of a Presidential candidate.
Colorado Senator and Presidential hopeful Michael Bennet was in Telluride for a book signing outside Between the Covers.
Speaking on Main Street as people and trucks rumble by, Bennet says the issues he sees facing rural Colorado and the Western Slope are similar to the concerns he hears from people across the country.
“I think people are deeply concerned about making sure we protect our public lands. That we protect rural infrastructure, like rural hospitals and keep them open. That we make sure rural schools have the opportunity to attract teachers and keep them in their districts. And so those are similar issues that I’m hearing around the country,” says Bennet.
Bennet is currently one of 20 Democrats vying for the Democratic nomination for President. He has not qualified for the upcoming democratic debate in Houston at the beginning of September – qualification is based on a mix of polling and donations across the country. But he says a slow start in the campaign doesn’t worry him.
Bennet says, “We’re really in the early stages of this. I know that the voters of the early states really have not yet made up their minds. They’re trying to figure out who the best person to beat Donald Trump is. Most of us are polling in the single digits, I’m at 1% and I think twelve other people in the race are also at 1%. But if history is any guide, the leading candidates are not the ones that will win. Usually it’s somebody who comes from single digits who ends up winning the race. So we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.”
But he notes, if he doesn’t win the primary, or general election, he doesn’t plan on going anywhere.
“If the Presidential stuff doesn’t work out I fully anticipate running again for another term. And I do think that it’s because of the people I’ve had a chance to work with, local leadership, on the Western Slope of Colorado, we have been a really strong voice for Colorado’s values in the Senate when we’ve needed it most,” says Bennet.
Senator Bennet’s current term as Senator is up in 2022. He is currently the only Coloradan running for President. Earlier this month, former Governor John Hickenlooper dropped out of the race and has now announced he will run in the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Senator Cory Gardner next year.