Hickenlooper Ends Presidential Bid With An Eye Toward U.S. Senate Seat

August 15, 2019 by Dan McCue
Democratic presidential candidate, Governor John Hickenlooper, makes a statement to media outside of the Homestead Detention Center on June 28, 2019 in Homestead, Fla. (Jennifer King/Miami Herald/TNS)

WASHINGTON – Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday, fueling speculation that he will now set his sights on a U.S. Senate bid.

Hickenlooper, 67, ran as a moderate, but never made any headway in a crowded primary field in which frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden appears to have soaked up much of the centrist support.

The two-term governor is the second Democrat to leave the race, after Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who bowed out on July 8. His departure leaves 23 still vying for the nomination.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Hickenlooper acknowledged the widespread talk about his future.

“I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate. They remind me how much is at stake for our country and our state. I intend to give that some serious thought,” he said.

Hickenlooper, who often spoke on the campaign trail of the dangers of extreme partisanship, went on to speak of the nation’s Capitol, and public dissatisfaction with what they see happening here.

“They want this country moving forward. They’re sick of the chaos and dysfunction of Washington, D.C., and I couldn’t agree with them more,” Hickenlooper said.

“I ran for president because this country is being ripped apart by politics and partisan games while our biggest problems go unsolved,” he added.

Despite the fact Hickenlooper’s presidential campaign foundered when it came to fundraising and gaining traction in the polls, he remains highly popular in his home state, with polls suggesting he’d run away with the Senate primary race in Colorado.

The Denver Post on Sunday published polling that showed Mr. Hickenlooper holding a 51-point lead over two other Democrats in the state’s 2020 Senate race.

That’s why Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., intent on flipping three seats in Senate and giving Democrats control of the chamber, has reportedly been trying for months to get the ex-governor to challenge Sen. Cory Gardner, who is seen as one of the GOP’s most vulnerable candidates seeking reelection in 2020.

Currently, more than a dozen candidates are already running for the chance to face Gardner at the polls, including former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former Obama administration staffer Dan Baer, and John Walsh, who served as U.S. attorney in Denver during the Obama administration.

Hickenlooper became a political legend in Colorado due to his sometimes quirky and always unscripted approach to politics.

He once jumped out of a plane to sell a ballot measure to increase state spending, admitted during a CNN town hall that he accidentally took his mother to see the pornographic film “Deep Throat,” and won two statewide elections in a purple state during Republican wave years.

Hickenlooper served as Denver’s mayor from 2003 to 2011. He was Colorado’s governor from 2011 until January 2019.

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