Hickenlooper 2020?

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's name may be unfamiliar, but he's looking to change that.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is seriously considering running for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said Wednesday that he is ”leaning strongly” toward a White House bid, marking his latest indication that he could run for president.

“I’m the governor of Colorado and I’m gonna run for president,” Hickenlooper said during a stop in New Hampshire, where he’s campaigning for down-ballot Democrats.

He quickly added that he hasn’t “made a final decision” and that he’s “leaning strongly” toward a White House run, but said “if I say I’m absolutely doing it then there are all kinds of legal ramifications.”

According to a reporter for WMUR, a New Hampshire TV station, Hickenlooper told a different person during the campaign stop that “I’m John Hickenlooper and I’m running for president. You’re the first person in New Hampshire I’ve said that to.”

Hickenlooper has long drawn speculation as a potential contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. He is term-limited as governor of Colorado and is stepping down from the position after 2018.

Democrats are expected to have a packed primary field in the next White House race, with several senators also viewed as likely presidential contenders.

Hickenlooper said in June that he would make a decision about a 2020 presidential run over the summer.

Here’s the tweet from WMUR reporter Adam Sexton where Hickenlooper seems to confirm that he’s running:

As noted, this isn’t the first time that Hickenlooper’s name has come up in connection with a run for the White House. In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election, he was one of the names mentioned as a potential candidate, and it has been mentioned at other times since then. In all honesty, I can’t say that I know all that much about him other than the fact that he appears to have been relatively successful and popular as Governor of Colorado over the past eight years. The economy of the state is strong, and he also managed to successfully preside over the legalization of marijuana during his time in office. From what I’ve gathered he has a reputation as a relatively competent executive of a state where it’s kind of hard to mess things up to begin with thanks to its tourism industry, the fact that the tech industry has invested heavily in the state, and it’s relatively strong pro-business environment.

Beyond all that, though, I have difficulty understanding exactly what it is about Hickenlooper that would distinguish him from what is likely to be a crowded Democratic field made up of well-known stars like Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and others who have a far more established national presence. It’s always possible, of course, that a candidate like Hickenlooper could succeed notwithstanding the fact that he is relatively unknown, but it seems unlikely. Much like candidates such as Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee in 2016, a Hickenlooper campaign seems as if it would be more of an audition for a chance at being someone else’s running mate or, if they win, for a Cabinet position than a serious bid for the nomination. Stranger things have happened, of course. Nobody expected a peanut farmer from Georgia to come out of nowhere in 1976 to win his party’s nomination and, eventually, the Presidency, for example. But before we start thinking about Hickenlooper as a serious contender, he’s going to have to become a lot better known and give voters a reason to take him seriously.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Gustopher says:

    He is a white man, and a lot of people do like white men.

    He’s a blank slate to me, as all I know about him is that he exists. But, no one expected Bill Clinton to become the nominee in 1992. Maybe he’s awesome. Maybe Hickenlooper Fever is about to strike.

    A lot of Presidents seemed like random small people when they announced their candidacies.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    He’s wasting his time. Dems have already decided our next candidate has to be a woman or person of color, preferably both. //

  3. Moosebreath says:

    It would be nice if he made it, if only so Pennsylvania can have a better President to its name than James Buchanan.

    More seriously, I think he’s running to be considered for Vice President.

  4. Kathy says:


    A lot of Presidents seemed like random small people when they announced their candidacies.

    But it takes a giant to grow smaller and pettier while in office, right?

  5. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: If you are referring to our current President, I think you are unaware of how small and petty he was before he descended his gilded escalator in front of an adoring paid crowd.

  6. Teve says:

    Can Hickenlooper figure out how to fold an umbrella? We currently have a Differently Abled president who can’t. Anything would be an improvement.

  7. Jen says:

    He has spent a fair amount of time hanging around with John Kasich. There was even some speculation–I have no idea if it was joking or not–that they’d talked about forming a bipartisan ticket in 2020 (I don’t think this would ever happen, but it is headline-grabbing).

    His appeal is clearly going to be to the center–the Democrats who call themselves independents, all of the newly-minted Dems who are actually Republicans run out of their party for being RINOs, and so on. I think he would probably do reasonably well in New Hampshire.

  8. Richared Gardner says:

    Washington Governor Jay Inslee is making exploratory motions too.

  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    A former brew-pub owner.
    He oversaw legalizing pot.
    He’s strong on gun control.
    That’s a good start.

  10. JohnMcC says:

    @Jen: I had a very similar thought — that (FSM willing) there are going to be a pretty darn large cohort of brand new democrats around 2019–20.

  11. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: And he’s a governor.

    He’ll lose support from people who want to see themselves supporting a woman or minority candidate, though. That’s just a given. If he’s serious, though, I’d vote for him.

    P.S. Greetings from DC.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    He’ll lose support from people who want to see themselves supporting a woman or minority candidate, though.

    Funny how you say that without noting the long and continuing history of white people who would never vote for a person of color or a woman. And just to set the record clear, black people have been voting for white people ever since they got the vote, and women have been voting for men ever since they got the vote.

    And why would someone hold it against a person for preferring to vote for someone who knows their problems because they have lived them too?

  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Richared Gardner: Jeez. I can barely see him as governor as it is.

    “Scoop” who?

  14. James Pearce says:


    Funny how you say that without noting the long and continuing history of white people who would never vote for a person of color or a woman.

    I don’t know what’s so hard about being against racism period. Why is so important to leave the door open to anti-white racism? Are we so certain it won’t swing back and smack us in the face? (To be sure, I think it already has.)

  15. al Ameda says:

    John Hickenlooper? This has to be advance trolling or a cabinet spot in the next Democratic administration, right?


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