Birth Name: Michael Farrand Bennet
Place of Birth: New Delhi, India
Date of Birth: November 28, 1964
*father – English, some Irish, small amount of German
*mother – Ashkenazi Jewish
Michael Bennet is an American businessperson, lawyer, and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he has been a U.S. Senator from Colorado, since January 21, 2009. He was previously the Superintendent of Denver Public Schools, from July 1, 2005 to January 21, 2009.
He is a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2020.
Michael was born in New Delhi, India, the son of Susanne Christine (Klejman) and Douglas J. Bennet (Douglas Joseph Bennet, Jr.). At the time of Michael’s birth, his father, who was born in New Jersey, was serving as an aide to the U.S. Ambassador to India, Chester Bowles. Michael’s father also ran the U.S. Agency for International Development, from 1979 to 1981, was President and CEO of NPR, from 1983 to 1993, and President of Wesleyan University, from 1995 to 2007. Michael was raised in Washington, D.C. His brother is journalist James Bennet.
Michael is married to attorney Susan Daggett, with whom he has three children.
Michael’s father was of English, some Irish, and a small amount of German, descent, with heavy Mayflower and other Colonial American ancestry. Michael’s mother, who was born in Poland and survived the Holocaust, is the daughter of Polish Jewish parents. Michael was raised around both Christian and Jewish faiths.
Michael is the first person directly descended from a Holocaust survivor to mount a notable campaign for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.
Michael’s paternal grandfather was Douglas Joseph Bennet (the son of Walter Hughes Bennet and Grace Agatha Downs/Downes). Douglas was born in Delaware. Walter was the son of John Gardner Bennet and Adaline Hughes. Grace was the daughter of David Downs/Downes and Catherine MacNamara, who was Canadian.
Michael’s paternal grandmother was Phoebe Benedict (the daughter of Farrand Northrop Benedict and Helen Bulkley Bullard). Phoebe was born in New York. Farrand was the son of William Burritt Benedict and Julia A. Bates, whose father was English. Helen was the daughter of The Rev. Charles Bulkley Bullard and Amelia W. “Minnie” Atkins/Aikins.
Michael’s maternal grandfather was John Jacob Klejman (the son of Szymon/Simon Klejman and Natalie Srebrnik). John was born in Sochocin, gmina Sochocin, mazowieckie, Poland.
Michael’s maternal grandmother was Halina Kljeman (the daughter of Boyrs/Boris Klejman and Chana/Anne Szwec/Szvek). Halina was born in Warsaw.
Two people of Jewish heritage have been nominated for President of the United States by a major party. Barry Goldwater, nominated by the Republican Party in 1964, was the first (Goldwater was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and was raised an Episcopalian). John Kerry, nominated by the Democratic Party in 2004, was the second (Kerry’s paternal grandparents were born Jewish, though Kerry’s father and Kerry himself were raised Catholic).
Joe Lieberman, who is Jewish, was nominated for Vice President of the United States by the Democratic Party in 2000.
Four people of Jewish heritage have won a major party’s Presidential caucus and/or primary:
*Barry Goldwater (1964, the year he was nominated; Republican; won 7 states; Goldwater also sought the 1960 Republican nomination)
*John Kerry (2004, the year he was nominated; Democratic; won 51 contests)
*Wesley Clark (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination; won 1 state, Oklahoma; Clark was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and is a practicing Catholic)
*Bernie Sanders (who sought the 2016 Democratic nomination, and is seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination; in 2016, he won 23 contests)
Of the four, only Bernie Sanders is Jewish by religion, and he is the first person of Jewish religion to win a caucus and/or primary for a major American political party’s Presidential nomination (the 2016 New Hampshire primary).
Other people of significant Jewish heritage who are mounting or have mounted plausible or semi-plausible campaigns for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States are:
*Milton Shapp (who sought the 1976 Democratic nomination)
*Larry Agran (who sought the 1992 Democratic nomination)
*Arlen Specter (who sought the 1996 Republican nomination)
*Joe Lieberman (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination)
*John H. Cox (who sought the 2008 Republican nomination)
*Fred Karger (who sought the 2012 Republican nomination)
*Marianne Williamson (who is seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination)
Shapp, Agran, Specter, Lieberman, Karger, and Williamson were/are all Jewish by religion. Shapp was the first person of Jewish religion to mount a prominent campaign for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.
Kirsten Gillibrand, a Catholic with a Jewish great-grandfather, is also seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination.
Michael’s paternal grandfather, Douglas Joseph Bennet, on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Oral history of Michael’s mother’s family, by Michael’s mother – https://collections.ushmm.org
Travel record of Michael’s maternal grandfather, John Jacob Klejman – https://www.familysearch.org
Travel record of Michael’s maternal grandmother, Halina Kljeman – https://www.familysearch.org