CNN reports ahead of this week’s Democratic presidential debates, which could be the last appears for Colorado’s two aspiring presidential candidates in the mix barring a dramatic upswing in support:
Democrats on Capitol Hill have a message for presidential hopefuls John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, and Steve Bullock, the current governor of Montana: you’d make great senators.
Hickenlooper and Bullock have struggled to gain traction in a crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates, but as governors, they have already proven they can be elected statewide. As Democrats gear up for a fight for the Senate, many are quick to say they believe Hickenlooper and Bullock would make formidable challengers to Republican senators up for re-election in Colorado and Montana.
“I would urge them to think about this moment in our history and what would be best for the country,” Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico told CNN of Hickenlooper and Bullock, saying “no doubt about it,” when asked if he thinks they would make strong Senate candidates and adding that he believes they would make good senators.
That’s the strongest public support we’ve seen from any nationally prominent Democrat for former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to make the jump from his little-fish-in-a-big-pond campaign for President into a race that, while crowded, Hickenlooper would immediately become the frontrunner in to win the Democratic nomination.
Hickenlooper’s pros and cons are well known to all sides in Colorado, but several factors could make him a powerful antidote to Sen. Cory Gardner’s relentlessly sunny yet deeply trust-challenged persona. Hickenlooper was highly popular as governor, and more than perhaps any other candidate in the race, Hickenlooper can beat Gardner at his own upbeat game–and be more truthful and authentic as he does it. In addition, Hickenlooper’s unsuccessful anti-“socialism” message in the presidential race, which we’ve criticized as tone deaf in that particular setting, effectively defangs Gardner’s message on the campaign trail heavily dependent on slamming the “S-word” and all its outlandish implicit connotations.
It’s been evident for some time now that both of Colorado’s Democratic presidential aspirants, for all their hard work and determination, were going to have trouble breaking into the upper tier of better-known candidates in the race for President. Sen. Michael Bennet of course can simply keep doing the job he was re-elected to do in 2016. As for Gov. Hickenlooper?
The decision he makes next is up to him, and it looks to us like all his doors remain open.