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August 06, 2019 12:58 PM UTC

Hick On Glide Slope To Smooth Senate Race Landing

  • by: Colorado Pols
Former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D).

The Hill reports:

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said he may still consider running for Senate in 2020 if his standing in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary doesn’t improve…

Despite his failure to gain traction in the presidential primary, Hickenlooper is widely recognized as a strong candidate to take on Colorado’s Republican Sen. Cory Gardner as Democrats try to flip the Senate. He is one of several presidential candidates many Democrats have said should run for Senate and Colorado, Arizona and Maine are seen as the most competitive states for Democrats to pick up.

From the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning, who has closely followed the end stages of former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s not-to-be-cheri presidential bid and first reported this moment of underdog clarity on satellite radio this past weekend:

“I’ve never ruled out anything,” he told SiriusXM’s Chris Frates — a former Denver Post reporter — when the Politics Inside Out host pressed him on a Senate bid. But the Democrat insisted his attention is “still 100% right now focused on being president.”


“What excites me is being in those executive positions and put a team together, I can win a campaign that people say I can’t, and then we do the things that people say can’t be done. That’s what excites me,” Hickenlooper told Frates on Sunday. “Again, at a certain point, if I can’t get myself beyond 2%, I’d be a — I’d be a fool to spend two years doing it.”

…Pressed to say whether he would rule out jumping to the Senate race, Hickenlooper responded: “I’ve never ruled out anything.” [Pols emphasis]

There are several waypoints to watch for along Hickenlooper’s transition from minor candidate in the presidential race to instant frontrunner in the Democratic primary to take on vulnerable incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020. The first and most obvious is the groundswell of support that surfaced following early rumors that such a move was in the offing as we first reported last Friday. The next is likely to come when (nominally still ‘if’) Hickenlooper fails to qualify for the next round of Democratic presidential debates based on the higher bar of support required. If he does make the cut, it would almost certainly delay Hickenlooper’s switch to the Senate race–without penalty since the national TV time in these debates is a net positive even without an uptick in polling support.

Barring something that at this point we have no reason to expect, though, everything we’ve heard suggests Hickenlooper’s transition from presidential underdog to U.S. Senate frontrunner is nearing certainty–and this latest interview only further reinforces the likelihood. At this point it’s about a smooth transition, and maximizing the value of Hickenlooper’s remaining time in the presidential race to position himself against Gardner.

Besides, nobody who puts in the time to run for President should miss out on the Iowa State Fair.


57 thoughts on “Hick On Glide Slope To Smooth Senate Race Landing

  1. RUN, HICK, RUN!

    And if you are really miserable with it after one year (or even six months), you can resign and Polis can appoint Alice Madden.

  2. Hick – please don't.

    If you do, you'll get a lot of pushback from people who have supported the largest, most diverse Democratic Senate field ever. You'd be steamrolling over three women of color with strong community support (Garcia, Spaulding, and Williams), six women altogether, three former legislative majority leaders (Romanoff, Madden, and Williams), a gay education leader (Dan Baer),  as well as other legislators like Mike Johnston, and former Colorado US attorney John Walsh.

    You're running on Colorado's strong economy. But….Why does Colorado have a strong economy? A lot of it is stuff you really opposed or were lukewarm to, like cannabis legalization and renewable energy. You shouldn't be taking credit for it.

    Your platform "1) I'm not a socialist and socialism is bad, 2) Fracking is fricking awesome, especially chilled, with mint and coconut milk!" is not going to win over many young and millennial voters. Some will vote for you just because you were a brewpub owner and your name is fun to say, but they're all going to drop out of school soon, anyway.

    In sum, think long and hard about taking a job you really don't want, just because you're not ever going to be President. There are a dozen people who want Cory's job, have been campaigning for more than a year, raised big money, have huge community support and who are frankly younger and energetic enough to give the Senate job what it deserves.

    Will diehard Dems like me vote for you unenthusiastically? Of course. But the enthusiasm won't be there. among the groups you need to GOTV, like youth, people of color, and women. Let the best (current declared) Senate candidate win!

    Secretary Griswold, this goes for you, too, except for the younger part. Plenty of people will feel betrayed if you skip out on your unfinished current job to run for Senate. You're already feeling that heat. Your high paid political consultants need to spend some time on the ground talking with real people.

    1. Nice wrap of why Hick should go do something outside of running for office.  There are a couple of super qualified candidates running along with a few who would be very good at the job.  None of them include the former gov.

      1. Can those super-qualified candidates raise the ten of millions of dollars needed to dislodge an incumbent who has the financial support of Moscow Mitch?

        Can these super-qualified candidates raise their name stature above the asterisk level?

        I am sick of the appointees Trump has placed on the bench. While I do not like his shilling for the oil & gas industry, I am willing to tolerate that if it makes Dianne Feinstein the Senate Judiciary Committee chair instead of the current chair, Blanche DuBois.

        Why do not some of these super-qualified candidates show their stuff at a lower levels of elected office? Angela Williams could probably run a more effective race in CD 1 than Crisanta Duran is doing. Didn't that work for Diana DeGette in 1996? To my knowledge, Garcia and Zorino have never held any elective office. Why not run for the General Assembly?

        After what happened at the presidential level in 2016, the idea of electing someone who has never held elective office before for a high federal position may have lost some of its attraction.

        1. I'm with you, R&R. Getting rid of Gardner is the only priority, period. Hick should run. Should one of MJ's touted candidates beat him, so be it.

          Let's not lose sight of the goal.

        2. Some of the male candidates are fundraising well – Johnston 2.6M coh, Romanoff 1 M, Baer 1.06M. The women, not so much.

          However, in Colorado, underfunded candidates with strong grassroots support have won elections – Dave Young vs. shady Brian Watson, Jena Griswold vs. Wayne Williams. Andrew Romanoff, at least, has charisma and that strong grassroots support and volunteer energy. He was impressive on his recent telephone town hall last week.

          Stephanie Spaulding held Doug Lamborn to a 20 point margin in CD5 where Rs outnumber Ds 2-1. She is a compelling speaker and should not be written off politically.

          Senator Angela Williams already has been "showing her stuff" in state elected office, where she's known as the go-to legislator for business-public partnerships. Madden has a long history of Senate stuff-showing. Garcia and Zornio are dynamic candidates with grassroots support.

          My point is that these political consultants should not all be pushing the reluctant Hick to run for Senate, like we just have to have a moderate, older, white male to be a credible anti-Gardner. That ignores  the good people already running.


          1. "political consultant"

            You mean <gasp> experienced professionals? Like people who like to win too?

            There are loads of good people. Some are running for Colorado Senator.
            I strongly prefer someone who is more likely to win.

            More likely to win:
            – have won statewide before
            – have won an election before
            – well known and well liked by Colorado voters
            – demonstrated ability to raise big money
            (not necessarily in this order)

            Some of the good people running are unknowns in one or more of these categories.
            And I think identity politics is offensive, exclusionary, and a stupid pointless waste of time that too often increases the liklihood of losing.
            And I hate losing elections. (I'm looking at you one-time Udall voters, HRC voters supporters, and Team Mike Miles)

            1. Not all consultants are infallible geniuses. Some of them told Udall to focus on the abortion issue. They told Angela Giron the same thing ("Don't talk about gun safety, talk about how your opponent is anti-choice") That worked out well, no?

              Then, more recently, there are the geniuses who commissioned a push poll to push Jena Griswold out of her Secretary of State office, where she's making real progress on transparency and efficiency, and into making a run for Senate. "How many of you would swich (sic) to Jena Griswold?”

              It looked bad for her, raised resentments she doesn't need. "Finish your damn job" is hardly an inspiring slogan.

              Who is advising Hick to run for Senate? Do they have a track record of success? Are they taking into account that the big surge in voter registration and turnout in 2018 was from younger unaffiliated voters, women, Latinos, and African Americans? Do they think Hick appeals to those populations? Did you see his performance at the debates? Can you honestly say it was inspiring? 

              Remember, Colorado voted for Bernie Sanders twice, in caucuses, and at the state convention. How do you think Hick's anti-Sanders schtick will go over with younger and more progressive voters? Because that's where the spark is in the Democratic party now.

              Most Coloradans will also remember that Hick was against legalizing recreational marijuana and warned of dire consequences. Now that he’s taking credit for Colorado’s strong mmj business boost, how will they feel about the double-talking hickster?

              It might be that Hick’s “I’m just a plain-spoken guy” will play well against Cory’s smooth-talking glibberish in debates. But any of the candidates could do the same thing. It’s not hard to point out that words have to mean things, and actions count more.

              If Hick runs for Senate in 2020, you'd better hope that you have a charismatic, younger person of color or a woman at the top of the ticket to motivate people to vote. Cause the old poop sipping on the glass of fracking fluid just isn't going to inspire anyone.

              1. Bernie Sanders never got a single vote in a general election or a primary election in Colorado, MJ.  Hillary did win here, comfortably.  

                You don't even have a Senate candidate, you are just desperately afraid that a proven five-time winner will beat Cory Gardner and you'll miss the chance to lose with purity.

                Go, Hick, Go!

                    1. I was posed this question from a fellow Yuman of which I did not have an answer but I'm sure someone here does: is it too late for Hick to switch parties and primary Cory? (this coming from a long-time never-Trumper, one who says he doesn't know if he can ever vote for a Dem).  

                      I know this isn't going to happen but imagining the spinning heads in the Neville camp was fun for a brief second. 

                1. Perhaps the Colorado Green Party, to advance its environmental agenda and give the purists an alternative, will field a candidate in the race if Hick is the Democratic nominee.

                2. 2016 Primary did not have the Presidential race on it. Check for yourself. (2016 primary results in Xcl format from Sec State)

                  The caucuses were 59% Bernie, 40% Hillary. The state convention Presidential preference poll was 62% Bernie, 38% Hillary. Colorado's delegates at the national convention were Bernie delegates 41-25.

                  Bernie Sanders never got a single vote in a general election or a primary election in Colorado, MJ.  Hillary did win here, comfortably.  

                  Of course, Hillary won the state's delegates…against Trump. Bernie wasn't on the general election ballot, so, no, he didn't get a single vote. But he certainly did win the primary election…the way we did presidential primaries in 2016.

                  I won't answer the rest of your baiting and insulting, but you should at least get your facts right.

                  1. So, you admit Bernie never got a single vote in a primary, or a general election.  Special interests did pack caucuses for him.  But in states like New York, California, Mississippi, where ordinary voters had a voice, Hillary crushed Bernie.




                    Bernie is/was a loser.

                  2. What are you trying to say, Corky?  If your man is Bernie, he's falling like a rock.  And, no, he never won a primary or a general election in Colorado.

                    1. What I'm saying is your claim that "Bernie didn't win a primary" is a red-herring, a non-statement, a nullity without meaning. There was no primary, as I'm sure you actually know. Bernie won the caucuses, the state convention preference poll, and the majority of the convention delegates. That makes him pretty popular in 2016 among Democratic party activists.

                      And, no, Bernie is not my choice for 2020; don't give up your day job to become a mind reader.

                    2. Two states, corky, used a dual process: Washington and Nebraska.  Delegates were chosen by caucus and Bernie predominated. They then had primary "beauty contests" where ordinary people could express their views.  Hillary won both handily.

                      Yes, bernie won the packed caucuses.  Hillary won the vast majority of actual primaries.  By far the most delegates.  And the overwhelming share of African American voters.

                      The undemocratic process in Colorado was a big reason we returned to real primaries.  And I doubt very much that Bernie will do well in them.

                      But hey, if it makes you happy to pretend he was popular with rank and file voters here, have fun.  There is no way to prove the point either way.

      2. It's an elective office, estimable lady (nasty woman.).  Name one of your "highly qualified" candidates who is coming off a win.

        To paraphrase Lenin, electability has a quality all it's own.

    2. Count me in the "do you want Conman Cory out of there, or not?" set. Hick can beat him. No, he's not my top pick, but I'll take him. Sometimes you have to swallow hard and choose the lesser of evils. If he hates it he can step out and let Polis choose a replacement, probably from one of the other Dem candidates who've already thrown their hats in. Jena Griswald, on the other hand, needs to finish her damned job.

      1. I don't buy your premise. 

        Hickenlooper is a flawed candidate and I don't believe he has a better chance to beat Cory than Andrew, Alice, or another of the candidates who aren't looking at this as a plan B.

        Your certitude is uninspiring.😉

        1. You don't have to buy my premise.  But your man Romanoff has never won in a competetive disrrict and lost both times he tried.  Your man Johnston was third –third– in the gov. Race.  Even the estimable Madden lost her only statewide race, for Regent.

          Hick has never lost.  Do the math.

          Moral victories suck!  Hickenlooper for Senate!

          1. Then let us, you and me at least, set an example of respect and tolerance. Time will tell which of us is right, and our blabbering here on this forum is unlikely to change anyones mind.

            Some of Hicks' supporters are among people I admire most. 

            I had high hopes for Hick when he was elected to succeed Gov. Ritter. He disappointed me almost immediately by seating an oil and gas cheerleader from Ft. Lupton on the COGCC to replace the environments' strongest defender on that panel, Tresi Houpt. He has continually reinforced that disappointment since then.

            To this day, I wait for you, or any other Frackenlooper fan to tell me where "CleanStim" was used to hydraulically fracture a producing gas well. I would actually welcome that information, happy to have been proven wrong. It was John Hickenloopers' publicity stunt that did more to protect the OilyBoyz than almost any other single act.

            If you think the front range people facing the drilling rigs are going to forget Hicks' obstruction, I think you will be disappointed. 

            BTW.  While I am on this rant, let me remind you. The EPA Clean Air activity the gov. likes to take credit for was not his doing. The OilyBoyz had no choice. Neither did Hick.

            I have never been quiet about my distrust for John Hickenlooper. Nothing or no one has provided me with any reason to change my mind.


              1. That is the question. 

                It will, of course, feel terrible. Cory is actually despicable in his willingness to screw over anyone as long as it increases his wealth and his influence among wealthy industrialists. He must go.

                I am just not convinced Hickenlooper is the answer.

                But as I said to V., I admire many folks who support the man, but I don't. If he joins the race and wins the nomination, so be it.

                1. Respecting your voice is easy, Duke.  You have fought the good fight on hard soil for many years.  I wish I had another million like you.

                  I will, of course, support any Democrat in the Senate race .  Alice Madden I would back with great enthusiasm.

            1. I share Duke's concerns about Hick. If the younger voters and the front rangers (and western Garfield Countians) who have been fighting drilling literally in their backyards are just not enthusiastic enough about Hick to work on his behalf (if he were to be the candidate) OR perhaps to even give him their vote – then there's a substantial risk we'd have Gardner for another six years.

              1. Except, the ballot issue to ban virtually all drilling was crushed.  The freeze in the dark caucus is a definite minority of Coloradoans.

                But if we do reject five-wins-in-a-row Hick, Realist, name me a candidate who won.

                Romanoff — lost primary to bennet, Congressional to Shorter Coffman.  Johnston – finished third in three-way primary.  

                Madden, lost statewide race for cu regent.

                Spaulding, lost to Lamborn by 20 points!

                None of the rest have run for anything except a few safe seats in heavily Democratic districts.

                So, if you hate hick enough to live with six more years of Cory, so be it. 

                But if beating Cory is your main goal, only hick brings a winning record to the job.

                1. Yes, Spaulding lost to Lamborn by only 20% but it was a moral victory.

                  Winning isn't everything if you have an exciting candidate who energizes the base, stands on principle and leads a good discussion of issues.

                  As I’ve said before, Romo has the record of being a loser but he has selected terrible races to run in. Taking on an incumbent in a primary who had the White House’s backing? Taking on an alleged moderate Republican in a swing district in a Republican wave election cycle? Neither was a smart move.

                2. I really don't believe it's 2010 or 2014 any longer – we're eons from those election years. Hick just might not have what it takes now to win. If he's so stupendous why is he barely registering in the Presidential race? Even Buttegieg (mayor of a small city) got 5% in the latest Quinnipiac poll, and Andrew Yang (who?) got 1% while Hickenlooper did not achieve even that.

              2. Don't let the spin hurt your neck

                There was no vote to ban all drilling.
                And I agree with you and Duke- Hick is not the perfect candidate to appeal to all voters.

                I think he is a good enough candidate to appeal to enough voters. (If his party avoids the well loved circular firing squad) 

                I do like th eidea of switching parties and primarying Gardner  – if he wins the nomination, it's a win, win, win.

  3. Hick did win statewide — and that's dandy history.  But prior results do not guarantee future returns … at least, that's what my investment advisor continues to tell me.

    Anyone think that Cory Gardner is only as capable a candidate as Bob Beauprez?  Beauprez ran against an incumbent Hick, and lost by 3.3%.  Meanwhile, Gardner was beating Udall by almost 2%.

    In his first run for Governor, Hick faced Dan Maes (11.1%) and Tom Tancredo (36.5%), and won with 51% and 912,005 votes.  Appointed incumbent Bennet was winning the Senate race with 851,590 votes — over "powerhouse" campaigner Ken Buck who got 822,731.  Anyone think Gardner is only as capable as Maes, or Tancredo, or even Buck?


    1. Cory is indeed an able candidate.   That's why your idea of beating him with a chronic loser or total unknown is foolish.  Hick will win. Trish whatz-her-face-, probably not.

  4. Hick needs to drop out of the presidential race today and announce his senate run within the next month. It's almost as important t remove Gardner as it is to remove the traitor Trump and Hick is our best bet to get the job done. 

  5. John Hickenlooper Drops Out Of 2020 Presidential Race One Assumes

    "DENVER—Presumably thanking his supporters and vowing to keep up his fight for the well-being of everyday Americans, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, one naturally assumes.
    Highly placed sources have confirmed that it is only natural to imagine that Hickenlooper, who launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination back in what most are pretty sure was March, has probably dropped out, as he did not stand a reasonable chance of winning in the first place.
    While no further inquiry into the status of Hickenlooper’s campaign is forthcoming or realistically necessary, one may safely assume that this headline, if not true now, cannot ultimately be false, and will in fact be accurate in every major particular within the next week.
    Therefore, the Onion Editorial Board has concluded that it is only logical to pursue more pressing journalistic endeavors and acknowledge the inevitable demise of this quixotic campaign. This newspaper will dutifully update this article to reflect the day of the week and city in which Hickenlooper will ultimately stand before the cameras, surrounded by his wanly smiling family, and pledge his meager support to whoever the eventual Democratic Party nominee might be.
    As we shall not be following up on Hickenlooper’s further and presumptively fruitless activities, we urge citizens to pursue any other avenue of information they deem necessary, which from a practical perspective is, of course, none. An informed populace is crucial to democracy, so feel free to investigate yourself, but do not attempt to contact this newspaper or its employees, as we do not care."

  6. Michael…..I'm posting down here because there was no "Reply" link on your posting.

    I love the idea. There was a one-year party affiliation requirement but I believe the party can waive it.

    Ask Martha Ezzard who was a Republican state senator in the 1980s who challenged Dan Schaffer as a Democrat in old CD 6 after the Dems invited her to the party and had to go to court to challenge the state law.

    Just a guess but Ken Buck and Steve House would probably not invite Hick to become a Republican – although as many point out, his views energy and environmental issues fit right in. They need to protect Cory.

  7. Something no one seems to be thinking about….. Which Dem candidate would have the firepower to take on the far right wing, dark money, PACs, and win.

    Only name coming to mind for me is John Hickenlooper. Hick has my vote if he is the candidate. 

    R & R: we don't often disagree. Hick's record on the environment, despite his leanings towards O & G, is much better than Cory's. 

  8. Ok, folks, you’re going to have to sit two to a seat. This bus can only hold so many, and someone else just got on. 

    Michelle Ferrigno Warren joins Senate race, Denver Post 8/6/19

          1. Seems like an admirable lady, but running for the Senate at this point is probably just a cynical attempt to promote her book, and a less cynical attempt to highlight the pro-immigration point of view.

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