The Denver Post’s political duo Justin Wingerter and Nic Garcia report, and we’re obliged to take note:
State Democratic insiders agree that Hickenlooper would be a formidable candidate against Gardner, but a majority of the 11 Democratic candidates already in the field want Hickenlooper to know they won’t be rolling over if he decides to run for the Senate.
“He has his aspirations, and we can’t control what he does, but what I’m concerned about is Washington insiders interfering with Colorado voters in their selection of a Democratic nominee,” [Sen. Angela] Williams said in an interview Thursday morning, hours before Hickenlooper ended his presidential run. “I believe women and people of color deserve a voice in the United States Senate.”
“He’ll have a fight on his hands,” Williams added. “That’s what I believe.” She accused Hickenlooper of attacking “the progressive values of women and people of color on issues like health care reform” during his ill-fated run for president.
In the wake of yesterday’s announcement that former Gov. John Hickenlooper would end his presidential campaign and give “serious thought” to running for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020, at least three Democrats already running for the seat have suggested they won’t be peremptorily driven from the race if Hickenlooper gets in. Michael Johnston in particular has a sufficient war chest on hand with which to fight on, and at the end of the day nobody can force any declared candidate to pull out.
No person can do that, but reality has a way of working itself out.
We have been clear in this space that based on every available data point, including corroborative polling data and years of experience observing the trends and power centers in Colorado politics, John Hickenlooper as a candidate for the U.S. Senate would be orders of magnitude stronger than anyone else presently in the race for the Democratic nomination. A recent poll showing Hickenlooper’s name ID and persistent favorability crushing his Democratic rivals by 51 points is hotly disputed by supporters of other candidates, but it sensibly reflects the built-in advantage of a popular two-term governor against a primary field consisting mostly of current and former state lawmakers. Another recent poll showing Hickenlooper handily defeating Sen. Cory Gardner in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, though we don’t doubt other candidates can also compete well, is not an expression of anyone’s bias. It’s reality.
With that said, conventional wisdom has been upset before. All of the factors that we have identified as giving Hickenlooper the upper hand in a Democratic primary will need to be proven out once again. If our analysis is correct that Hickenlooper will dominate if he enters the Democratic primary and quickly relegate opposing campaigns to minor status, that prediction will be borne out by events.
We’re just the messenger, but feel free to prove us wrong–if you can.