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Hickenlooper forms leadership PAC for potential presidential run

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is creating a political action committee, putting him a giant step closer to jumping into the race for president in 2020.

Continuing the worst kept secret in Colorado politics, Gov. John Hickenlooper has formed a leadership PAC to explore a 2020 presidential run.

The website for the PAC Giddy Up is simply an image of a two-lane highway with the mountains in the background. The only options are to donate or add your name to an email list.

Hickenlooper is limited in what the PAC can and cannot do. Essentially, it's a way for Hickenlooper to pay for travel and test his policy messages across the United States.

"It's a way for an elected official to travel to other states, for example, to campaign for other candidates running," said Jim Carpenter, former Chief of Staff for Gov. Bill Ritter and a Democratic Strategist. "It's just a way to participate in the policy process that's helpful."

Giddy Up will be managed by Brad Komar, who ran Hickenlooper's re-election campaign in 2014. Hickenlooper beat Republican Bob Beauprez 49 percent to 46 percent. Komar also worked on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in Colorado.

In 2017, he was the campaign manager for Virginia Democrat Ralph Northam, who won the Governor's race against Republican Ed Gillespie by nine points.

Komar confirmed that Hickenlooper will travel to Florida and Georgia later this week to support the Gubernatorial campaigns of Florida Democratic candidate Andrew Gillium and Georgia Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams.

"Both of those states, Georgia and Florida, have important Governor races in terms of opportunities to take Republican seats away. It's part of being a good fellow Governor to the Democrats where he would go to other states and campaign, just like other people had come here to campaign for him," said Carpenter. "Sure, it raises his profile. It keeps him active and involved politically and in policy that he cares about."

The leadership PAC can spend money on developing policy ideas and messaging, as well as support other candidates who have similar goals. Hickenlooper can use the PAC money to travel to support those other candidates. The PAC money cannot be used to help state candidates in Colorado, but it can be used to help Colorado candidates running for federal offices.

Contributions to the PAC are capped at $5,000 annually.

Donors will be listed in the campaign finance reports. Individuals can contribute, as can federal PACs, federal candidate committees and LLPs, if the partners authorize the contribution. Some LLCs are also eligible to contribute, but corporations, labor unions and 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 organizations cannot.

Read Colorado Politics' story here: https://bit.ly/2NVdxK6