Ex-Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper Running For Senate

August 22, 2019 by Dan McCue
John Hickenlooper declared his presidential candidacy for the 2020 election, joining a crowded Democratic field. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS) **FOR THIS STORY ONLY**

A presidential campaign behind him, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Thursday he’s running for the U.S. Senate, vying for the right to challenge Republican incumbent Cory Gardner.

With his announcement, which came via a video message posted on his website Thursday morning, Hickenlooper immediately became the leading contender for the Democratic Senate nomination.

“I’ve always said Washington was a lousy place for a guy like me who wants to get things done, but this is no time to walk away from the table,” he says in the video, adding later, “I’m not done fighting for the people of Colorado.”

Hickenlooper, an oil geologist turned brew-pub entrepreneur, served as Colorado’s governor from 2011 to 2019 and prior to that, was Denver’s mayor.

A centrist Democrat, Hickenlooper failed to gain traction in the presidential race in which he was overshadowed by former Vice President Joe Biden, a fellow moderate, and a pack of other left-leaning candidates.

But all along Democrats in Washington hoped the popular former governor would make the run against Gardner, who is considered the most vulnerable Republican senator in the country.

Hickenlooper initially rejected all entreaties, telling reporters at one point that he simply was “not cut out to be a senator.”

It’s a line that was seized on by the National Republican Senatorial Committee as it sought to blunt the effect of Hickenlooper’s announcement.

“During his embarrassing walkabout through Iowa, @Hickenlooper repeatedly made the case that he was ‘not cut out’ for the US Senate. It seems to be one of the few things he got right as a Presidential candidate,” the committee wrote on Twitter. “Colorado shouldn’t be anyone’s back-up plan.”

Hickenlooper entered the large Democratic field seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination last spring, only to see his White House hopes fizzle.

Earlier this summer, several of Hickenlooper’s senior aides left his campaign team, and once he failed to qualify to appear in the next Democratic debate, which is being held at Texas Southern University in Houston September 12 and 13, talks about his switching to the Senate race intensified.

It has been reported that Hickenlooper continued to talk with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about a senate run, even as he pressed his presidential bid.

In recent weeks, several polls have showed him besting the primary field he now faces by a wide margin. One of those polls, from the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group and published by the Denver Post, put him in front of other Democrats in the field by 50 percentage points.

In related news, CBS News reported that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $4.8 million in July — its best off-election year July fundraising ever.

Of that total, $1.8 million came in the form of donations below $200.

To flip the Senate in 2020, the Democrats will have to win at least three seats. They are pushing grassroots fundraising to bolster support in other key states like Maine and Iowa. 

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