John Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor whose low-key brand of moderate politics made him popular in his home state but limited his appeal in a Democratic primary filled with urgent progressive energy, announced Thursday he was ending his presidential campaign.

Hickenlooper has been seriously considering a run for the Republican-held Senate seat in Colorado that is up for election in 2020 — a key pickup target in the Democrats’ strategy to try to retake control of the Senate.

“Today, I’m ending my campaign for president,” he said in a videotaped statement. “But I will never stop believing that America can only move forward when we work together.”


Hickenlooper’s White House bid never gained significant traction and struggled so acutely that top staff members departed.

He failed to break through in the polls, raised less money than most rivals and was all but certain to miss the cutoff for the Democratic debates in September.

New York Times

A failure to qualify for the debates would have added to a growing list of humbling moments for Hickenlooper, 67, who is also a former Denver mayor, brewpub owner and geologist. All too often he found himself in front of small, distracted crowds at campaign events. He was mistaken at one point for a member of the news media and at another for a different candidate.

As it turned out, the July debates would be Hickenlooper’s final opportunity to speak to millions of Americans at once. He spent much of the evening pushing back on liberal policy ideas like “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal. With momentum behind the more popular and progressive candidates onstage with him, Hickenlooper at times appeared under strain.