US Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, announced on Thursday he is running for president, just weeks after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer.
His entry in the race brings to 21 the number of Democrats seeking to challenge Donald Trump in 2020, making for a sprawling fight for the party’s nomination.
“We cannot be the first generation to leave less to our kids, not more. That’s why I’m running for President,” Bennet said on Twitter.
“Let’s build opportunity for every American and restore integrity to our government,” he said.
Bennet, 54, had said in March he was contemplating a run, but those plans were put on hold after he revealed he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
He underwent surgery in mid-April, and a spokesperson told Politico at the time that his doctors had said it was “completely successful and he requires no further treatment”.
In an interview on CBS’s This Morning on Thursday, Bennet called the outcome “very clarifying”.
“I feel incredibly lucky — because I got a diagnosis and five years later after an operation I was cleared with a clean bill of health,” he said.
“That gave me a chance to think about whether I really wanted to run or not.”
His speeches from the floor of the Senate brought him some national attention, including one widely seen address in which derided Republican senator Ted Cruz’s “crocodile tears” during the US government shutdown in January.
But Bennet, who touts his re-putation for bipartisanship in a swing state with a large presence of independent voters, has a long way to go to catch up with better known candidates.
He follows Joe Biden, who has taken a commanding lead in the polls with 39 per cent since joining the fray on Friday as the 20th candidate.
The CNN poll that showed Biden breaking from the pack had Senator Bernie Sanders a distant second at 15 per cent.
Progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren, young Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg and former congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas were bunched together with eight, seven, and six per cent respectively.