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Sen. Michael Bennet Warns Against Bernie Sanders Nomination: 'Tough, Tough Time' Beating Trump

DENVER (CBS4)- It's four days before Super Tuesday and the polls show Bernie Sanders winning Colorado's primary. Sen. Michael Bennet is warning that Democrats will be hurt if Sanders is the party's nominee.

Bennet - who recently ended his presidential bid - participated in a forum hosted by the Colorado Sun and live streamed by CBS4 on Friday. He said while Sanders may bring more young voters to the polls, Democrats need to win back people who voted for Pres. Barack Obama and then switched to Pres. Donald Trump.

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"Bernie says the math compels being Bernie and that he is going to turn out so many more young people and so many more that he can win. And if he's the nominee, I certainly hope that's true but that's not what the math looks like to me. The math looks like to me that we've got to find a way to galvanize the Democrats and then bring back some other people. And then if we can't do that in the swing states, we're going to have a tough time, a tough, tough time, not just beating Donald Trump, but winning the Senate seats," said Bennet.

If Sanders is the top of the ticket, Colorado's U.S. Senate race is among those that could become more difficult. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper - the presumed front-runner in the Democratic primary - is opposed to Medicare For All and the Green New Deal. He shrugged off a Sander's nomination at a round table Friday focused on family-friendly workplaces.

"My job is to stay laser focused on the issues that I know Coloradans care about. I ran successfully in 2010 and 2014, two years that were tough for Democrats all over the country, and we won. I think I've got to just not worry about it. I'll let you guys handicap the race," said Hickenlooper.

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While the Democratic establishment is worried Sanders will be a drag on down ticket races, CBS4's Democratic analyst Mike Dino says, maybe not, "The knee jerk reaction is he's going to be a problem, for Democrats up and down ballot from U.S. Senate races to state legislative races to dog catcher."

Dino argues that Sanders - and his army of young voters - could help a Hickenlooper campaign, "Young voters don't necessarily align on fracking issues, they have different views on climate change and, you know, Sanders needs give John a little cover on that and attract them his way, I feel."

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CBS4's Republican analyst Dick Wadhams says, fat chance, "They're all in for Sanders, they're all in for the agenda, they're all in for socialism. And so anybody who deviates from that, has a problem. I don't know how Gov. Hickenlooper actually walks that line, because I don't actually think there is a line to walk. You're either for or against him."

Hickenlooper picked up a key endorsement Friday. Former presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand threw her support behind him, "He will get things done. He knows how to create a bipartisan coalition of support."

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