Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper revealed on Thursday that he is officially ending his bid to seek the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
“A little over six months ago I announced my run for president. In almost every regard, this journey has been more exciting and more rewarding than I ever imagined,” Hickenlooper said in what will likely be his final campaign video. “Although, of course I did imagine a very different conclusion,” he added.
“I ran for president because this country is being ripped apart by politics and partisan games while our biggest problems go unsolved,” he continued. “Now, today I’m ending my campaign for president, but I will never stop believing that America can only move forward when we work together.”
The announcement came as Hickenlooper was facing growing calls for him to drop out of the race and forgo his presidential ambitions in lieu of a more realistic shot at winning an election in his home state of Colorado.
Democrats are urgently looking for a reliable challenge to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) in order to flip the seat blue and ultimately regain the Senate majority. Colorado has become increasingly Democratic, voting for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, and then for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Gardner is considered to be one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans going into the 2020 election cycle.
Hickenlooper, however, has previously shot down the potential for a Senate run, contending that he has no interest in the seat.
“If the Senate is so good, how come all of those senators are trying to get out?” he asked earlier in the year when confronted with the prospect.
“The Senate doesn’t attract me,” he continued. “It just doesn’t attract me.”
But the former Colorado governor addressed the mounting pressure to launch a Senate bid and seemingly reversed course, stating that he had not ruled out the opportunity.
“People want to know what comes next for me. I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate,” Hickenlooper said on Thursday. “They remind me how much is at stake for our country and our state. I intend to give that some serious thought.”
“I’ve been a geologist, and a small businessman, a mayor, a governor, and a candidate for the president of the United States,” he continued. “At each step, I’ve always looked forward with hope and I always will.”
The former Colorado governor is the second prominent Democratic hopeful to exit the race, leaving the primary field with 23 major contenders remaining. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) dropped his bid for the presidency in early-July after he failed to gain traction with his anti-gun platform.
Hickenlooper was considered to be one of the more moderate candidates running. He was notably booed while speaking at California’s Democratic Convention in June after he said that socialism will never beat President Donald Trump.
“I’m so proud to travel the country and tell people that change is possible when you work together,” Hickenlooper added.