John Hickenlooper Likely to Leave the Race in the Democratic presidential primary

Democratic presidential candidate former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

By Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver

The Democratic presidential primary field is likely to shrink today as former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to end his bid for the party’s nomination, bringing the field to 23 candidates (The Associated Press).

Hickenlooper has struggled throughout his campaign and has been unable to gather momentum, including in two forgettable debate performances, creating problems for him to qualify for the next round of Democratic debates in mid-September.

According to CNN, it remains unknown whether Hickenlooper will jump to run for the Senate in Colorado against Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is among the most vulnerable Senate Republicans up for reelection next year. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been prodding him for months to launch a bid against the incumbent Republican.

Although Hickenlooper has repeatedly said he isn’t cut out to serve in the Senate, he has warmed to the idea of running for the Senate, and he has plenty of time to consider his options. The filing deadline for Hickenlooper to jump in the race is not until March 17, 2020 ahead of a late June primary contest.

“He would win,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) told MSNBC about Hickenlooper’s chances against Gardner if he were to make that decision. Bennet was appearing on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” late Wednesday when news broke of Hickenlooper’s impending announcement.

“He’s right where the state is on a whole range of issues and he left office as popular as he came into office,” Bennet told the host. “We obviously have to win the Senate seat in Colorado. That’s critical.”

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