Days after formally ending his longshot bid for the White House, failed Democratic presidential candidate and former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper says he plans to challenge Republican incumbent Cory Gardner for his Senate seat in 2020.
A campaign announcement video posted to Hickenlooper's Twitter account begins with the candidate shooting pool and talking about things like health care and public lands policy while tying his opponent to Republican leaders in D.C.
"I don't think Cory Gardner understands that the games he's playing with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are hurting the people of Colorado," Hickenlooper says. "We ought to be working together to move this country forward and stop the political nonsense."
I've always said Washington is a lousy place for a guy like me who wants to get things done," the candidate concludes in the video. "But this is no time to walk away from the table."
While out on the campaign trail ahead of his presidential campaign announcement earlier this year, Hickenlooper first said that he was "not cut out to be a Senator" when asked about a possible bid for Gardner's seat. However, when he ended his presidential campaign last week, he said he'd consider the idea.
"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," Hickenlooper said in a video announcing the end of his campaign. "I intend to give that some serious thought."
In the days leading up to the conclusion of his presidential bid, the former governor was still short of the individual donor and qualifying poll minimums necessary to earn himself a spot on the third Democratic debate stage and a Hill-HarrisX survey released on Wednesday showed the candidate polling at 0 percent.
"John Hickenlooper is desperate to redeem himself after flopping on the national stage, but we think he said it best just a few months ago: he is 'not cut out' for the Senate,'" National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez said in a public statement. "This crowded Senate field has been in a race to the left and Hickenlooper's quixotic presidential bid did not do him any favors in proving he can compete in any race in 2020."
Hickenlooper will now enter a field with several Democratic candidates already running including former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and former state House Majority Leader Alice Madden.
"If he's going to switch gears and run for the Senate, he has a lot to explain to Colorado voters," fellow primary candidate state Sen. Angela Williams said last week while criticizing what she saw as Hickenlooper's insufficiently progressive policy positions. "This won't be a coronation."