Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper dropped out the presidential race on August 15 after failing to make an impact. Rumors swirled the day before that he considered dropping out to run for the Senate even though he often stressed he is “not cut out to be a senator.”

That stance officially changed on Thursday. Hickenlooper announced his Senate campaign to unseat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020.

Hickenlooper released a video today. The video’s description says, “Brewer, scientist, small biz owner, former Mayor, and Governor. Husband. Dad. Occasional banjo player. He/Him/His.”

From CNN:

“I’ve always said Washington was a lousy place for a guy like me who knows how to get things done — but this is no time to walk away from the table,” Hickenlooper says in his campaign announcement video. “We ought to be working together to move this country forward and stop the political nonsense. I know changing Washington is hard, but I want to give it a shot. I’m not done fighting for the people of Colorado.”

Hickenlooper’s entry into the Colorado Senate race is a key get for Democrats who have been struggling to recruit candidates in their effort to win control of the Senate in 2020. He will seek to challenge Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican seen as one of the most vulnerable lawmakers in 2020.

The Democrats took over the House of Representatives in 2016, but could not make a dent in the Senate. If the Democrats win the White House in 2020, they only need to flip three Republican seats to take over the Senate. If Trump wins, then they need four seats.

I blogged on August 14 that hypothetical polls have shown that Hickenlooper has a chance to come out on top:

The Denver Post on Sunday published polling done on behalf of “a national Democratic group involved in Senate races” that showed Mr. Hickenlooper holding a 51-point lead over two other Democrats in the state’s 2020 Senate race.

On Monday, the 314 Action Fund, a super PAC that backs candidates who are scientists, announced a “Draft Hick for Senate” campaign along with a poll it commissioned showing Mr. Hickenlooper leading Senator Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican seeking re-election, by 13 percentage points in a head-to-head matchup.

Many senior advisors told Hickenlooper in the spring to end his campaign. If the situation did not get better they would leave.

Many have left because Hickenlooper maintains a position in the bottom tier. He spends more than he brings in from fundraisers.

Hickenlooper is the 12th candidate in the Colorado race. Despite a large number of candidates, Cook Political Report has the Colorado Senate race as a tossup.

A poll from Emerson Polling that took place August 16-19 has Hickenlooper over Gardner:

In a hypothetical Senate matchup between Sen. Cory Gardner and former Governor John Hickenlooper, Hickenlooper holds a strong lead with 53% to 40% for Gardner. 8% are undecided. The key to Hickenlooper’s lead is his strong performance among Independents, among whom he leads Gardner 55% to 34%.

Hickenlooper left as governor “in January with an approval rating nearly 20 percentage points above water.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer immediately went to Hickenlooper to encourage him to run for the Senate. The two met again in early August. Schumer once again pressured Hickenlooper to challenge Gardner.

Axios reported that a source said, “Schumer needs John Hickenlooper real bad.” Supposedly Schumer told Hickenlooper he “could be the person who is the firewall between Mitch McConnell staying as majority leader in 2021 or the Democrats taking the Senate.”


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