Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times via AP
Rumors are swirling that Democratic presidential candidate and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is debating dropping out of the crowded field and launching a campaign for U.S. Senate instead, challenging incumbent Republican Cory Gardner in 2020.
Citing officials who have been in discussions with the Hickenlooper campaign, The Times reported that Hickenlooper is giving “serious consideration” to switching to the Senate race, but a final decision has not yet been made.
As of Wednesday morning, Hickenlooper was still tweeting about his presidential bid.
“From my first day as Governor of Colorado, we elevated rural communities to keep their well-being a statewide priority. As president, I am prepared to do the same. We must build and protect the vital assets rural America brings to our nation,” he tweeted.
As the Coloradan notes, the current field of Democrats vying to face off against Gardner is slightly less crowded than the number of Democrats seeking the presidential nomination. Emphasis on slightly.
If Hickenlooper bails on the jam-packed presidential primary, he’ll be trading one crowded Democratic contest for another. Ten Democrats have already filed to run against Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado, and some have raised as much or more money in the past quarter for their bids as Hickenlooper has in his presidential effort.
Colorado is key to Democratic hopes of retaking a Senate majority in the 2020 election, according to the Times.
Political analysts told the Associated Press that while Hickenlooper likely has the stature to still dominate the field, he’d be less of a sure thing than he would have before he launched his White House bid in March.
Still, plenty of people in Washington and Colorado are thinking about the Senate. Members of Hickenlooper’s own staff implored him to make the switch in late May, and when he stayed in the White House race, several left the campaign.
But after a lackluster debate performance, a former Hickenlooper strategist in Colorado, Curtis Hubbard, registered several internet domains, including “Hickenlooper4Senate.com,” in the hopes of getting Hickenlooper to change targets.
If Hickenlooper does drop out of the presidential race in favor of a Senate campaign, he’s not going to be able to rely on the support of every Democrat in the state. As it turns out, at least one politician thinks Hickenlooper’s been lying about how he was responsible for the gun control bills he signed into law as governor in 2013.
With reports of @Hickenlooper considering the Senate race, I felt it important to set the record straight. In 2013, #COleg passed gun safety laws in spite of @Hickenlooper NOT because of him. Credit to @SenRhondaFields, @MorganLCarroll & others. #NotHick #COpolitics
— John Morse (@SenJohnMorse) August 14, 2019
Former State Senator John Morse was one of the Democrats booted out of office in a recall after the passage of the gun control bills in 2013, so he knows a thing or two about the legislative battles over the bills. We’ve noted as well that Hickenlooper expressed reservations and second thoughts about the state’s magazine ban a year after the bill’s passage, even though now he’s touting the magazine ban and the “universal background check” law as an example of how he can work across the aisle and bring people together in support of “commonsense gun safety measures”.
Hickenlooper’s presidential campaign has yet to achieve lift off, but any attempt at running for the U.S. Senate may crash on the launchpad as well, at least if one former legislator has anything to do with it.