- John Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor, launched his Democratic presidential campaign on Monday.
- Hickenlooper, 66, was highly popular during two terms as Colorado’s governor. 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 career path from a laid-off geologist to governor, outlines his experience, and frames President Donald Trump as a “bully.”
John Hickenlooper launched his 2020 presidential campaign on Monday, making the former Colorado governor the 14th Democratic candidate to enter the field.
Hickenlooper, 66, was highly popular as governor for two terms before being succeeded by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis. Before that, he served as mayor of Denver (a nonpartisan position) and was 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,” in which he charted his life from a laid-off geologist to a brewpub owner to the mayor of Denver to the governor. He highlighted experience that he argued made him the right person to challenge President Donald Trump, whom he cast as a “bully.”
“I’m running for president because we’re facing a crisis that threatens everything we stand for,” Hickenlooper said in the video 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 said. “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 left-leaning policies on issues such as gun control while making Colorado a desirable home for business interests, including large energy companies.
While some progressives have criticised Hickenlooper for his friendliness toward big oil and gas companies, including paving the way for fracking in Colorado, his supporters highlight his ability to work across the aisle.
Throughout his political career, he’s refused to air negative ads against his opponents – all but a foreign concept in the hyperpolarized 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 Sen. Cory Gardner – a Republican considered vulnerable whose seat is up for reelection in 2022 – or land a cabinet position should a different Democrat win the presidency.
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