DENVER — Now that former Denver mayor and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has also become a former presidential candidate, the talk will turn to his future as a U.S. Senate candidate.
"I've heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate. They remind me how much is at stake for our country and our state. I intend to give that some serious thought," Hickenlooper said about two minutes into his presidential campaign exit video.
It's not like he hasn’t had to think about it already, as it's one of the most popular questions he's received along the campaign trail.
On Saturday, he was asked about running for Senate during an interview on CNN.
"As soon as I start talking about Senate or some other possibility, not only do I get distracted, but my team gets distracted," said Hickenlooper. "I don't rule anything out, but I don't, I mean right now, I'm not even thinking about it. Literally, not thinking about it."
Eight days before that interview, he sat down with Margaret Hoover on PBS' Firing Line, where he talked about why putting teams together as an executive appeals to him.
"That's when I feel alive. That's where I feel I add the most value," said Hickenlooper. "I feel like that's my calling."
In July, while campaigning in New Hampshire, a tweet from a CBS News reporter documented a voter question asking why he isn't challenging Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) for his Senate seat which is up in 2020.
"I don't think they'll need me. And I do believe I will do a better job at beating Donald Trump," he said.
Back in February, before he officially announced his candidacy, Hickenlooper visited Iowa. He was quoted in a Politico article with the headline: "I'm not cut out to be a senator." In the article, he was also quoted saying, "Senators don’t build teams. Senators sit and debate in small groups, which is important, right? But I’m not sure that’s my — I’m a doer. That’s what gives me joy.”
Should Hickenlooper enter the race, he already has website domain names saved for him.
Curtis Hubbard, a democratic strategist, has worked with Hickenlooper in the past. Last week, he purchased website names in case Hickenlooper needed them later.
Hubbard said he hasn't spoken with Hickenlooper since January and has no idea if he wants to run for Senate.
He's working with the political action committee "314 Action Fund," which is trying to recruit Hickenlooper for Senate through a "Draft Hick" campaign.
Hubbard said he hasn't heard from current candidates to back off.
"I have not. And I have tremendous respects for many of them. I think that they would all acknowledge, that John Hickenlooper, were he to get into the race, would be a presumptive and formative frontrunner."
Hickenlooper did not make himself available to the media following his video announcement withdrawing from the race.
However, some of his potential Senate opponents did.
“I respect the Governor’s decision to leave the presidential race. He has led a distinguished career of service that has changed Colorado for the better, and as both his friend and as someone who has faced the same decision, I understand the enormous choice he’ll make in the coming weeks about whether or not to join the Senate race," said Mike Johnston.
In January, when asked if he would clear the race if Hickenlooper wanted in, Johnston told Next that he would have a conversation with him.
Andrew Romanoff is not leaving the race and provided the following statement:
"We’re running out of time to rescue our planet, repair our democracy, and restore the American Dream. We need leaders who will fight for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and an economy that works for everyone. That’s the kind of senator I will be."
State Sen. Angela Williams (D-Denver) had the sharpest response.
“I’m sorry Governor Hickenlooper’s presidential race didn’t work out. But he spent his time in Iowa running for president and as governor working and campaigning against bold, progressive solutions that will move Colorado and the country forward. If he’s going to switch gears and run for the senate, he has a lot to explain to Colorado voters. This won’t be a coronation.”
Alice Madden said, "Ultimately it's up to John to decide if he wants to run, but I am putting 100 percent of my efforts toward becoming Colorado's first female Senator and true clean energy champion."
Spokespeople for Dan Baer and John Walsh were not interested in providing a comment about their candidacies future if Hickenlooper got into the race.
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