Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s weird, sad, and embarrassing campaign for the Democratic nomination for president is finally, thankfully, kaput. Hickenlooper announced in a video on Thursday that he’s dropping out of the election and is considering running for a U.S. Senate seat in Colorado next year instead.
“I did imagine a very different conclusion,” he said in the video, adding, “I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate...I intend to give that some serious thought.”
Hickenlooper was once considered a potential dark horse in the race, having finished two relatively popular terms as governor of Colorado earlier this year. Due to some combination of factors, however—the size of the field, his dated Third Way approach to politics, he’s just a weird guy—Hickenlooper was never able to get traction, to the point where he very publicly and sadly celebrated achieving 2 percent support in a poll weeks after Politico reported that his whole senior leadership team quit and told him to drop out and run for Senate.
It took Hickenlooper a while—and perhaps a car ride with his former chief of staff, rival for the presidency, and current Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet—but he finally got there. Despite repeatedly rejecting calls for him to run for Senate, Hickenlooper will now probably do just that and run for the seat currently held by Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. (Politico and the AP reported on Wednesday that Hickenlooper would drop out, citing a staffer.)
Given Colorado’s increasingly progressive bent, Gardner’s seat serves as one of the best opportunities for Democrats to pick up ground in the Senate.
While the field of Democrats running for the Senate nomination is pretty large itself, recent polling showed Hickenlooper with 61 percent support among Democratic Senate primary voters in Colorado. The second most-popular candidate, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, was polling at 10 percent.
Don’t expect this to become a trend among poor-performing presidential candidates, though: former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke officially rejected calls to drop out and make a second run for Senate instead in his return speech to the presidential race on Tuesday following the white supremacist mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is still counting on his platform of complaining about the DNC’s debate qualification rules to sweep him to victory. It’s not like controlling the Senate is the key to wielding any sort of power or anything.