- Colorado’s former Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper launched his presidential camapaign on Monday.
- Hickenlooper, 66, served as Colorado’s highly popular governor for two terms. Before that, he was the mayor of Denver and a successful businessman.
- As governor, Hickenlooper developed a reputation as a centrist, pragmatic problem-solver as opposed to a partisan firebrand.
- His announcement video charts his own career path from a laid-off geologist to governor, outlines his experience, and frames Trump as a "bully."
Colorado’s former Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper launched his 2020 presidential campaign Monday, the 14th Democratic candidate to jump into the field.
Hickenlooper, 66, served as Colorado’s highly popular governor for two terms before being succeeded by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis. Before that, he was the mayor of Denver (a non-partisan position) and a successful businessman who founded Colorado’s first brewery pub, helping bring jobs and economic development to Denver.
Hickenlooper made the announcement in a video titled "Standing Tall," where he charts his own life from a laid-off geologist, to a brew pub owner, to mayor of Denver, to governor. He highlights his experience as why he should be the person to challenge Donald Trump, who he casts as a "bully."
"I’m running for president because we’re facing a crisis that threatens everything we stand for," Hickenlooper says over images of Trump. "As a skinny kid with coke bottle glasses and a funny last name, I’ve stood up to my fair share of bullies."
"I’m running for president because we need dreamers in Washington but we also need to get things done," he says. I’ve proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver."
Hickenlooper had long hinted at a presidential run. In December, the Associated Press reported that Hickenlooper was quickly hiring up staff, including pollsters and fundraisers, for his Giddy Up PAC, created in 2017.
As governor, Hickenlooper struck a balance between espousing socially progressive policies on issues such as gun control while making Colorado a desirable home for business interests, including large energy companies.
While some progressives have criticized Hickenlooper for being too friendly to big oil & gas companies, including paving the way for fracking in Colorado, his supporters highlight his ability to work across the aisle and get along with just about anyone.
Throughout his entire political career, he’s even refused to air any negative ads against his opponents – although that may have to change in the hyper-polarized environment of 2019.
“I think there’s a point where someone like me — I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a problem solver, I’ve been good at bringing people together that historically have been antagonistic," Hickenlooper told CNN in December.
"Maybe the country needs someone that can bring the divided parts of the country and the divided constituencies back together.”
Hickenlooper touts his record creating jobs, reducing unemployment, and increasing quality of life for rural Coloradans as the high points of his record as governor.
If Hickenlooper’s presidential bid doesn’t succeed, he would be well-positioned to challenge vulnerable Republican Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, who is up for re-election in 2022, or land a cabinet position in a future Democratic administration.
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- Bernie Sanders says he won’t be seeking Hillary Clinton’s advice for 2020 and explains why he thinks she lost in 2016
- Meet John Hickenlooper, the brewery owner turned governor who could be a serious Democratic contender to take on Trump in 2020