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Michael Bennet opts against DSCC chairmanship

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 name had emerged this week after several more seasoned senators -- including past DSCC Chairman Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) -- had turned down the job. Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), the current DSCC chairman, is up for reelection in 2012 and won't stay on in the job.

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.

With Bennet out of the DSCC race, attention will now turn squarely to Washington State Sen. Patty Murray who helmed the committee during the 2002 cycle. Murray, like Bennet, won a contentious race last Tuesday.

Democrats face a daunting election cycle in 2012. Twenty one Democratic incumbents are up for reelection as are two independents -- Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut -- who caucus with their side. Just ten Republicans are up for reelection.

By Chris Cillizza  | November 12, 2010; 4:42 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Afternoon Fix: Michael Bennet opts against chairing DSCC; Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be tapped for RGA chairmanship

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