Third Democrat Ending 2020 Presidential Run, Mulls Run for Senate

August 15, 2019 Updated: August 15, 2019

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is the third Democratic presidential candidate to end his bid for the White House and told supporters on Aug. 15 that he’s mulling a run for Senate.

Reports that Hickenlooper was ending his bid circulated starting late Wednesday and he confirmed them on Thursday.

“I’m announcing that I’m no longer running for President. While this campaign didn’t have the outcome we were hoping for, every moment has been worthwhile & I’m thankful to everyone who supported this campaign and our entire team,” he wrote in a statement, sharing a video announcement.

Hickenlooper did not yet announce that he’s running for Senate, a possibility he’s still considering.

“People want to know what comes next for me. I’ve met so many Coloradoans that want me to run for Senate,” he said in the video. “I intend to give that some serious thought.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) is up for re-election in 2020.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) in a file photograph. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Hickenlooper has said previously that top Democrats want him to run for the seat but said there are already good candidates who are running in the primary to face Gardner.

Hickenlooper left the governor’s office in January with approval ratings of around 70 percent and polls indicate he’d be the frontrunner if he ran for Senate.

“Everyone has come to him and said, ‘We need you, we need you, we need you,’ and I think the message of ‘You need to do this for the sake of the country’ resonates with him,” one source close to Hickenlooper told Fox News.

Another said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met with Hickenlooper earlier in August.

Democrats debate
Democratic presidential candidates Marianne Williamson, (L-R), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, former Maryland congressman John Delaney, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock take the stage at the beginning of the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, on July 30, 2019.

“Schumer made the point that if the governor were to run for the Senate, he would be a total hero. … The governor could be the firewall between Mitch McConnell remaining as Senate majority leader and the Democrats taking back the Senate,” the source said.

Hickenlooper, 67, was one of the more moderate Democrats in the race, spending most of his time in the previous debates urging his rivals to temper some of the far-left ideas—such as providing healthcare to illegal immigrants and attempting to transition the United States to a country primarily powered by green energy—that are unpopular with the general population.

Hickenlooper announced his entry into the 2020 presidential race on March 4, saying in a campaign video that he would bring “the progressive change that Washington has failed to deliver.”

“I’m running for president because we’re facing a crisis that threatens everything we stand for,” Hickenlooper said. “I’ve stood up to my fair share of bullies. Standing tall when it really matters is one of the things that really drives me.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) in July became the first Democrat to end his bid, telling reporters he had to acknowledge he wasn’t doing well in the polls.

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) speaks during the California Democrats 2019 State Convention at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, on June 1, 2019. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“I want to thank my supporters & friends, my staff, & my family for making this journey possible. I’ll never forget the people I met & lessons I learned while traveling around our great nation,” he wrote on Twitter, highlighting that he wanted to deal with gun violence in the United States.

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel became the second in early August, endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Hickenlooper’s planned announcement came as billionaire Tom Steyer was close to qualifying for the September debates, as was Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and former Obama administration cabinet secretary Julian Castro.

Nine candidates have already qualified: businessman Andrew Yang, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), and Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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