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Ahead of election, Hickenlooper talks presidential run, most surprising aspect of being governor

Nearly eight years after taking the job, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper stopped by Next with Kyle Clark to discuss his possible successors, if he's really running for president and the thing that surprised him most about being governor.

DENVER — Coloradans will likely know the name of their next governor come Tuesday.

Nearly eight years after taking the job himself, Gov. John Hickenlooper stopped by Next to discuss his possible successors, what's next and the thing that surprised him most about being governor.


Polis, is a Democrat who works in Washington, D.C., while Stapleton is a Republican who has an office right across the hall from Hickenlooper.

"It's interesting, I have a good relationship independently of politics with both of them. I am supporting Jared Polis, but I count myself a friend of Walker Stapleton’s. You will never hear me say anything negative about Walker Stapleton, I never have," said Hickenlooper. "But, I think Jared is an entrepreneur, who you know, comes at life a little bit differently. And he’s had, I think, big ideas, and they’re not big ideas that are going to take a lot of money, but they’re big ideas that are going to take us in the right direction."


On Wednesday, while in New Hampshire, Hickenlooper briefly made it sound like he was running for President.

"I am governor of Colorado, I'm going to run for President," he told a café worker while campaigning for other candidates in New Hampshire.

"I don't think I've ever said it before," Hickenlooper is heard saying.

He gets congratulations and handshakes, but then seven seconds later puts on asterisk on his comment.

"To be honest, to be honest, I haven't made the final decision," said Hickenlooper. "And if I say I'm absolutely going to, then there are all kind of legal ramifications. So, let's say I’m leaning strongly."

On Friday, we asked him about his café conversation.

"I was joking," said Hickenlooper. I was goofing around. If you're going to announce that you're running for the President of the United States, generally you have a press conference. Generally, you have cameras there."

Then again, he is the failed geologist, turned brewpub owner, turned accidental politician.

"It is the kind of thing that I get great pleasure from and sometimes it bites me," said Hickenlooper.

We also asked in what scenario would he not run for President:

"I could sit down my wife and my son, decide that there’s just too much, too demanding on me and our family. That’s something we‘ve had many discussions of that is not finally concluded. Maybe I don’t get any traction in Iowa or New Hampshire, and you know if that’s the case, it would be stupid to go out and waste time and money doing something that’s a fool’s errand."


Hickenlooper has been governor since 2011 and had advice to the next Governor for an aspect that might surprise them.

"Both Walker and Jared are aware of this, but I don't think until you really immerse yourself you understand what cybersecurity risk is all about," said Hickenlooper. "Until you're actually in the war room, and you see what's going on and you understand the risks, I don't think you can just read a paper on it and be prepared."

He said bad actors try to track emails with state employees and use that to phish.

"They want to take our money, let's be honest. They do phishing expeditions. They will get into your email and they will see exactly the kind of language you use every time, and then they'll use an email address that looks exactly like yours just one letter wrong and then they'll have your voice perfectly and they'll send a couple emails, just chatting emails with this new, kind of, phony email address, telling the Controller, 'Ah, you know we're going to have to send a check for $140,000 to that guy. Yeah, I know we haven't filled the paperwork out, but send it over, I'll check in on Monday, hope Doris is doing great,'" said Hickenlooper.

He was very specific with where these hacks are originating.

"They are sitting in some sweatshop in Russia, in some basement, and they are deciphering your tone of voice and how you talk to different people and impersonating you online. We've seen this stuff. It is diabolical," said Hickenlooper.

He said the state has been duped once by phishing couple of years ago.

"We were able to get the money back," said Hickenlooper. "We had just done a whole briefing, and everyone had been trained on it, but they are so good. I went back and looked at the emails, you can understand why the person just thought they were being asked to do this, a little bit out of the normal."

Full interview

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