News & Politics

Trailing 2020 Dem Stops Trying to Make 'President Hickenlooper' Happen

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks during the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Darn that Eric Swalwell! If it weren’t for him, my prediction that former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) would be the first one to drop out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race would have been correct. As it stands, my prediction is not too far off.

On Thursday morning, The New York Times reported that Hickenlooper, whose campaign never got off the ground and who was even mistaken for press at the first Democratic debate, is expected to drop out of the race.

Two sources familiar with the former governor’s plans told the Times he would drop out of the race. They also said he has been seriously considering a run for U.S. Senate, challenging Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), which was always a smarter idea than running for president. The sources said they did not expect a Senate announcement on Thursday.

Early last month, POLITICO reported that Hickenlooper’s own staff encouraged him to drop out of the race. He lost five staffers, including his campaign manager, his communications director, his digital director, and his finance director. He had little chance of qualifying for the fall debate in September. That POLITICO report predicted the campaign would run out of money in a month.

When the former governor announced his candidacy in March, liberals and conservatives found some rare common ground in mocking the very idea of a “President Hickenlooper.”

While I am proud to have grown up in Colorado, I never thought my former governor would stand a chance against Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, and all the other candidates you’ve likely already forgotten. The former Colorado governor never really stood a chance, and now it seems he realizes that.

It remains unclear whether or not he was running for an ulterior motive — building a brand, gaining nationwide recognition, or preparing to cash out with a book deal or a TV gig. While many of the candidates likely have ulterior motives, I don’t think that was Hickenlooper’s plan. He seemed legitimately interested in trying to make “President Hickenlooper” happen, and he’s dropping out now that it’s abundantly clear it’s not going to happen.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.