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Hickenlooper announces run for Senate

The Denver politician’s next steps

Hickenlooper announced new bid on Aug. 22.
Photo: Courtesy of

Just days after Denver’s own John Hickenlooper withdrew from the presidential race, the businessman-turned-politician, announced his campaign for Senate with the hope of replacing current Sen. Cory Gardner. There are now 13 Democrats running for Gardner’s seat, including Hickenlooper. 

After graduating from Wesleyan University with a master’s degree in geology, Hickenlooper was hired by a petroleum company in Colorado. He was laid off from the company six years later and consequently co-founded the Wynkoop Brewing Company. A thriving small business owner, Hickenlooper cultivated his public image by participating in local politics, including as a member of local boards and fostering relationships with local political entities.  

In 2003, Hickenlooper was elected Mayor of Denver, a seat he held until 2011 when he was elected Governor of Colorado. As Governor, Hickenlooper garnered bipartisan support, and sent Denver’s economic status skyrocketing. Even through his presidential campaign, Hickenlooper pushed a pro-business stance, with fiscal reform and pro-fracking at the forefront.  

Despite Hickenlooper’s success in Colorado, his presidential campaign was short-lived. Throughout the campaign, Hickenlooper was criticized by both local and national analysts for his business-centric stance, recalling an op-ed in which he stated that he was “running to save capitalism.”  

In early July, just four months after announcing his presidential campaign, Hickenlooper lost several members of his staff, including his campaign manager. His campaign launched with over $1 million in donations, but that number remained stagnant throughout the remainder of the campaign. The final poll of his campaign released by CNN reported Hickenlooper at just 1 percent support.  

Hickenlooper’s Senate campaign announcement shook up the roster of Colorado Democrats looking to replace Cory Gardner. Several notable Colorado Democrats have thrown their support to Hickenlooper, including Rep. Ed Perlmutter and state Sen. Kerry Donovan. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a major source of campaign financing, also recently announced their support for Hickenlooper.  

But not everyone is supportive of Hickenlooper’s newest goal of unseating Gardner. Immediately following Hickenlooper’s campaign announcement, President Donald Trump tweeted his support of Gardner, noting that he has been “Strong on Crime, Borders & the 2nd A, Cory fights hard for our Military & Vets,” while Hickenlooper poses “Big Primary trouble.”  

Hickenlooper also faces criticism from his own party. Six of the seven women running against Hickenlooper sent a letter to the DSCC, denouncing the organization’s sudden support of his campaign. The letter notes that Colorado has never had a woman in its US Senate seat, and by endorsing a male candidate so swiftly, the DSCC is “implying that we should defer to a male candidate because you seem to believe he is ‘more electable.’” 

The Colorado Senate primary elections will be in June of 2020. With 34 Senate seats up for election, the Democratic Party must flip a total of three seats to regain the majority. According to NBC News, Colorado, along with Maine and Arizona, is expected to be one of the most competitive senate races in the country.  

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