If it was a big deal for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to pick up a former president's endorsement in his primary race for Governor of California, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet might have gotten the only bigger fish in the pond in his own race for reelection in 2010.
Bennet, the Democrat appointed to replace former Senator Ken Salazar when the latter was appointed to serve as Interior Secretary in the new administration, picked up the backing of President Barack Obama on Friday.
Said Obama, "Michael has had my full support from day one, and I look forward to working with him in the Senate for years to come....Families in Colorado and across America need him in the United States Senate to help us revitalize our economy, improve our public schools and pass health-insurance reform."
The endorsement is a blow to the fledgling Senate primary challenge of Andrew Romanoff, the former Democratic Speaker of the Colorado Assembly. Romanoff had been flirting with a bid against Bennet for the right to serve out the remainder of Salazar's term, but only officially announced his candidacy on Thursday. Romanoff said in a prepared statement, "While I fully support and respect the president, this decision will rest — as it should — with the voters of Colorado."
The backing of the sitting president will likely swing party insiders in Bennet's direction. Prior to his appointment to the Senate, Bennet had served as Superintendent of Denver Public School, and had never held elected office. Though as a former Clinton administration aide and early Obama backer, was familiar with the local and national political scenes, some in Colorado feared that Bennet's inexperience on the campaign trail might squander ground Democrats struggled hard to gain in the Rocky Mountain State. But the President's backing is likely to result in a solid bounce in opinion polls for the interim Senator.