Who is John Hickenlooper?
Current job: 2020 presidential candidate.
Family: Hickenlooper has been married to digital news executive Robin Pringle since 2016, and has a 16-year-old son named Teddy, with his first wife Helen Thorpe.
Hometown: Narberth, Pennsylvania.
Political party: Democratic.
Previous jobs: Governor of Colorado 2011-2019, mayor of Denver 2004-2010, restaurant entrepreneur and executive, field geologist.
Who is John Hickenlooper’s direct competition for the nomination?
Based on a recurring series of national surveys we conduct, we can figure out who the other candidates competing in John Hickenlooper’s lane are, and who the broader opponents are within the party.
- For a governor of a major state, Hickenlooper’s awareness numbers are really bad, and the fact that less than a quarter of the people who’ve heard of him would be satisfied with him as the nominee is even worse.
- Biden does really well among Hickenlooper supporters, with about 70 per cent of the governor’s fans also being satisfied with Biden as nominee.
- In general, the non-Sanders Democratic rivals that perform best overall – Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren – have the broadest overlaps with Hickenlooper.
INSIDER has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate’s constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.
What are John Hickenlooper’s policy positions?
- While Hickenlooper does not support Medicare for All or the elimination of private health insurance, he wants to achieve universal healthcare coverage in the US.
- Hickenlooper cautioned Democrats against embracing sweeping changes proposed under Medicare for All at the July Democratic primary debate. “The policies – this notion that you’re going to take private insurance away from 180 million Americans … that is a disaster at the ballot box, you might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump.”
- During his time as Colorado’s governor, he created a healthcare exchange and expanded Medicaid in the state to bring Colorado’s coverage rate up to nearly 95%.
- He recently told New York magazine he supports a public option to allow people to buy into programs like Medicare at a price they can afford.
- Hickenlooper supports DACA, and opposed a Trump administration rule that would bar immigrants from accessing social services.
- Last year, he also signed an order prohibiting any state resources, including from the Colorado National Guard, from participating in the enforcement of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy.
- During July’s Democratic primary debate in Detroit, Hickenlooper said he would combine an effort at immigration reform with border security. “The frustration with what’s going on in Washington is they are kicking the ball back and forth. Secure the borders and make sure whatever law we have doesn’t allow children to be snatched from parents and put in cages. How hard can that be?” Hickenlooper said.
On climate change:
- Hickenlooper recently came out in opposition to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s version of the Green New Deal in a Washington Post op-ed, but said that climate change would be a major priority for his administration.
- “The Ocasio-Cortez-Markey resolution sets the Green New Deal up for failure by shifting away from private decision-making and toward the public sector,” he argued, saying his Green New Deal would include federal government investment and significant collaboration with private industry.
- As governor of Colorado, Hickenlooper paved the way for oil and gas companies to frack in the state. But he also enacted innovative regulations on methane emissions and low-emissions vehicles and expanded jobs in clean energy.
On campaign finance/election reform:
- As Governor, Hickenlooper signed legislation that gave campaigns opportunities to fix unintentional mistakes in their paperwork without being fined and made voting easier for military service members.
- In July, Hickenlooper rolled out a policy plan to shore up voting rights protections, “mandate” 15 days of early voting for federal elections, and expand automatic voter registration, same-day registration, and vote-by-mail.
- Hickenlooper is pro-choice, and supports Planned Parenthood.
- “Government has no business making medical decisions for women and families. Rather, we should make sure everyone has access to affordable, high-quality healthcare,” Hickenlooper recently tweeted. “THAT should be our north star… not restricting women from making their own choices about their bodies and lives.”
On LGBTQ rights:
- Hickenlooper has supported LGBTQ rights throughout his whole career. As governor, Hickenlooper called a special session of the state legislature to pass the legalization of civil unions.
- As Denver’s mayor, Hickenlooper created a scholarship fund that enables high-achieving, low-income graduates of Denver public schools to attend college.
- After cutting Colorado’s education budget during the Great Recession, Hickenlooper pushed for an ultimately unsuccessful property tax increase to fund Colorado schools.
- Following the 2012 mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre, Hickenlooper signed gun control legislation that enacted universal background checks and banned high-capacity magazines.
On criminal justice reform:
- Under Hickenlooper’s leadership, Colorado oversaw the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana – the first state to do so.
- Hickenlooper now believes marijuana should be decriminalized at the federal level, and the question of legalization left up to the states.
- He also changed his position on the death penalty while governor. “My whole life I was in favour of the death penalty … but then you get all this information: it costs 10 times, maybe 15 times more money to execute someone than to put someone in prison for life without parole. There’s no deterrents to having capital punishment,” he said in 2014.
- Hickenlooper is strongly supportive of free trade and is opposed to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China and European Union nations.
- He and former Ohio Governor John Kasich wrote a letter to the US’ trade representative last year urging the administration to cease its trade war with China.
- “We strongly urge our negotiators to address these opportunities without closing markets, imposing tariffs or enacting government regulations that threaten to negatively affect our manufacturers and agricultural producers,” they wrote.
On foreign policy:
- Hickenlooper attended the Munich Security Conference in February, where he emphasised wanting to strengthen America’s relationship with its NATO allies and restore free and fair trade between the United States and European countries.
- Hickenlooper opposed the Republican party’s $US1 trillion tax cut legislation signed into law last year.
- While Hickenlooper is a fiscally prudent leader, he did propose modest tax increases during his time as governor to fund education and infrastructure projects, both of which were rejected by the voters.
On jobs and the economy:
- Hickenlooper harnessed his experience as a businessman to create a series of public-private partnerships as part of his Colorado Innovation Network to stimulate job creation and innovation in Colorado.
- He also supported a 2016 ballot initiative to raise Colorado’s minimum wage from $US8.30 to $US12 an hour.
- Hickenlooper expanded skills-based and vocational training and apprenticeships in Colorado, a model he would like to replicate nationwide as president.
- As Governor, Hickenlooper worked hard to attract technology companies and startups to Colorado, including Arrow Electronics.
What are John Hickenlooper’s political successes?
- Hickenlooper defied the odds by getting elected as a Democrat in a purple state during two Republican wave years in 2010 and 2014.
- During Hickenlooper’s tenure as governor, Colorado went from being ranked 40th in job creation nationwide to being ranked 4th, and its unemployment rate fell from 9% to 3% by the time he left office.
- Hickenlooper cites his greatest strength as being able to bring together opposing interests and coalitions. As governor, he brokered deals on contentious issues like the state budget, gun control, environmental regulations, and healthcare.
How much money has John Hickenlooper raised?
His campaign reported raising just $US1.1 million, however,in 2019’s second quarter from April 1 to June 30, and said they have $US836,00 cash on hand.
How is John Hickenlooper viewed by voters compared to the competition?
INSIDER has conducted a number of other polls to check in on how these candidates are perceived in comparison to one another. When we asked respondents to one poll to rank how far to the left or to the right they considered the candidates, Hickenlooper was generally considered to be one of the more centrist candidates in the field. Hickenlooper was among the more experienced candidates in the field when we asked respondents to rank the candidates based on how prepared they are for the rigors of the presidency given what they knew about their history of public service and experience with government. And when asked how likable or personable respondents perceived the candidates to be, Hickenlooper emerged towards the bottom of the pack, possibly due to his low profile at the time.
Could John Hickenlooper beat President Trump?
Referring back to INSIDER’s recurring poll, Hickenlooper overall is believed to be a somewhat weaker candidate in a general election against Donald Trump compared to the whole field.
Among Democrats, Hickenlooper is fairly obscure at this early stage. The respondents who know of him are very uncertain about his ability to beat Trump: less than 20 per cent think he’d win, and about a third think he’d lose.
How do Democratic voters feel about John Hickenlooper’s qualifications?
INSIDER has conducted polling about how voters feel about candidate attributes or qualifications. We asked respondents about a list of possible qualifications and if they made them more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for president.
For example, among respondents who said they’d vote in the Democratic primary, 19% said a candidate being a college professor made them likelier to support them, while 4% said it made them less likely to, for a +15% net favorability. We can then see how different candidates’ resumes stack up compared to those preferences.
Attributes perceived as most valuable include his position as a Governor (+40%) and that he grew up middle class (+36%).
An attribute considered to be a liability based on the preferences of self-reported Democratic voters is that he was a business owner (-11%)
Read more of our stories on John Hickenlooper:
- Meet John Hickenlooper, the brewery owner turned governor and a Democratic presidential candidate who could pose a serious challenge to Trump in 2020.
- Presidential candidate John Hickenlooper was mistaken for a member of the media at the first Democratic debates
- Two long-shot 2020 Democratic candidates are bashing socialism and the left wing of their party as part of their campaign strategies
- John Hickenlooper says women presidential candidates should be asked whether they’d pick a male running mate.
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