Colorado Governor All But Confirms 2020 Run, Then Honors Lobbying Firm Representing Saudi Arabia

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said yesterday he was “leaning strongly” towards running for president, all but confirming a bid in the 2020 Democratic primary. Colorado limits their governors to two terms in office, so he won’t be running for reelection in this year’s midterms.

One day after his announcement, Hickenlooper named November 1st Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck 50th Anniversary Day, after the Denver lobbying firm according to a tweet by the firm. BHFS said last week that they have no plans to stop representing Saudi Arabia after the kingdom allegedly planned and carried out the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month.

The announcement from BHFS was noticed and pointed out by journalist David Sirota on Twitter.


Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has been in office since 2011. He’s overseen the legalization of cannabis in Colorado, which has brought millions of dollars of tax revenue and more than 18,000 jobs to the state. However, Hickenlooper, a partial owner of Wynkoop Brewing Company, opposed legalization until recently.


The outcry over Khashoggi’s death has driven some businesses to distance themselves from Saudi Arabia. Many lobbying groups have backed away from the kingdom in response to the continued controversy, but BHFS has held firm. They’ve recently lobbied on behalf of the Saudis in opposition to a bill known as NOPEC, would allow the U.S. to sue Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members for fixing oil prices.

In addition to their alleged involvement in Khashoggi’s killing, Saudi Arabia is also under fire for the civilian death toll in their ongoing war with Yemen, a war that the U.S. has supported, including with arms sales and mid-air jet refueling. An American bomb was used in the Saudi mission that killed 44 children in a Yemeni school bus this August.


We’ve reached out to Hickenlooper’s office for comment.

Update, 11/2/18, 8:25 a.m. ET: The headline of this post has been updated.