Democrat John Hickenlooper drops out of presidential race

Mr Hickenlooper speaks to voters at the Iowa State Fair in AugustImage copyright
The Washington Post/Getty Images

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Mr Hickenlooper speaks to voters at the Iowa State Fair in August

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has ended his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Mr Hickenlooper announced his decision to quit the race in an online video and said he was considering a run for US Senate.

“I am ending my campaign,” he said, thanking his staff and supporters for their “great work against long odds”.

Mr Hickenlooper is the third candidate to withdraw from the Democratic race.

He follows California Congressman Eric Swalwell, who ended his short-lived bid in early July, leaving twenty-three candidates still seeking the nomination.

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On the trail the 67-year-old touted his record as a two-term Colorado governor, where he presided over new environmental regulations, expansion of health care coverage and new gun control legislation.

But the moderate candidate failed to stand out in the congested Democratic field.

In his announcement on Thursday, Mr Hickenlooper said he has heard from many Coloradans who have asked him to run for US Senate.

“They remind me how much is at stake for our country and our state,” he said. “I intend to give that some serious thought.”

No room in a crowded Democratic race?

It turns out being a quiet, no-nonsense moderate in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field wasn’t a viable pathway to victory – or even making it within seeing distance of the actual primaries and caucuses.

John Hickenlooper may be popular in his home state of Colorado, and he may have a track record of using bipartisanship to enact progressive priorities, but good resumes don’t move the polls or bring in the campaign donations.

The former governor was anaemic in his two debate performances, often getting lost in the shuffle and failing to make a mark when he was given opportunities to speak. For a back-of-the-pack candidate, those prime-time opportunities simply can’t be squandered.

Now the speculation about whether Hickenlooper will run for Senate in Colorado can begin in earnest. Republican Cory Gardner is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in 2020, and Hickenlooper would make a formidable opponent – if he can get past the more progressive Democrats already in the race.

Back in March, Hickenlooper was asked by a reporter if he might run for Senate if his presidential bid failed. The former mayor and craft brewer answered that he didn’t think he was “cut out” for Congress. We’ll soon see if circumstances have changed his mind.

Mr Hickenlooper worked as a geologist before he was laid off and founded a brewpub chain in Denver. He then served as the city’s mayor from 2003 to 2011 and went on to serve as governor from 2011 to January 2019.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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The moderate former governor failed to stand out in the Democratic field

While in office, he said he convinced Democrats and Republicans to work together to expand the state’s Medicaid healthcare programme that has achieved coverage for nearly 95% of all residents.

“I will never stop believing that America can only move forward when we work together,” he said.

Media captionModerate Democrats attack the liberals

Who will take on Trump in 2020?

John Hickenlooper is the third Democratic candidate to quit his bid for president, leaving twenty-three candidates in the race.

Find out who’s still running and who might join them