Thursday, June 20, 2019

Why Hickenlooper Isn’t Running for Senate

Recently, Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson, and MSNBC host, Rachel Maddow, have argued for John Hickenlooper to shift from his presidential race to run for the Colorado Senate seat held by Cory Gardner. They point out that it’s eminently winnable and Hickenlooper has won two statewide elections for governor. He has said “no” so far, and explains that he’s an executive and solving problems from a management position is his forte and passion.

Seth McLaughlin in the Washington Times also wrote on the topic as to why a host of popular state politicians choose a longshot presidential run over local senate races, citing the dimmed stature of the senate as a place where problems are solved, especially from a minority position, which Democrats would likely be in after 2020.

Unfortunately for Hickenlooper, there is already a field of Democratic candidates, several with considerable experience of organizing and running for statewide offices. It is unlikely Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer could clear the field the way the Republican Party did for Cory Gardner to take on Mark Udall in 2014. Hickenlooper would have to run in a primary, something he has no real experience in and would be in considerable risk of losing. – witness his difficulty finding a constituency in the race for president.

His only multi-candidate race was his first for mayor in 2003. He mostly snuck up on the field of better known Denver politicians, with money, a creative campaign and considerable good luck. He’s now a known quantity after 17 years in office, and the activists in the Democratic Party are not his natural base. He gets support from moderate Democrats and Republicans, but the very liberal 2020 Colorado Democratic Party will be a very tough sell. Don’t expect Hickenlooper in the field regardless of his presidential fate.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper shares his ideas and accomplishments
with Iowa voters in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 27, 2019 | Joe Amon/Denver Post

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