Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has had a hard time standing out among the crowded field currently running for the Democratic nomination. He hasn’t broken the one percent mark in polls, was never expected to make the cut for the September debate, and — despite posting a thirst trap–adjacent pic prior to the second debate — wasn’t able to make a memorable impression, aside from getting made fun of by Bernie Sanders.
For all these reasons and probably a few more, Hickenlooper dropped out of the race Thursday. In a video posted to Twitter, Hickenlooper said, “Today, I’m ending my campaign for president. But I will never stop believing that America can only move forward when we work together.”
In the video, the 67-year-old fanned rumors about his running for Senate, saying he’s heard “from so many Coloradans” who want him to take on Republican senator Cory Gardner next year. “I intend to give that some serious thought,” he said in the video.
Hickenlooper’s announcement comes just days after he and fellow 2020 hopeful, Colorado senator Michael Bennet, had a quiet drive around Cedar Lake, Iowa, for “about 20 minutes,” according to the Times. It’s possible they discussed how indistinguishable their presidential bids have been, or the new Denver Post poll funded by “a national Democratic group involved in Senate races” showing Hickenlooper’s 51-point lead over the Democrats currently in the Senate race.
Hickenlooper said in February that he’s “not cut out to be a senator,” but there still may be a lane open for him. An allied super-PAC published a poll Monday showing the former governor 13 points ahead of Republican incumbent Cory Gardner, who is having Trump trouble in a state with a large number of unaffiliated voters and a presidential approval rating as low as 39 percent last month.
Hickenlooper is one of three Democrats — including Steve Bullock and Beto O’Rourke — who have been encouraged by some in the party to ditch their presidential ambitions and run for Senate. The two-term governor of Montana, Bullock is facing pressure to run against Republican Steve Daines, while Beto O’Rourke has been urged to drop out to challenge John Cornyn in Texas. All three candidates could help Democrats in the long-shot goal of retaking the Senate, though Bullock and O’Rourke — aided by their name recognition — face the unique prospect of flipping a solidly red seat.
This post has been updated.