Congress

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper enters presidential race

Hickenlooper may diverge from the pack in opposition to a single-payer healthcare system

Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., began his presidential campaign Monday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is headed to Iowa.

Hickenlooper announced his presidential bid Monday in a campaign ad that introduced his biography to voters as a governor who favored compromise.

The campaign touts what it calls Hickenlooper’s “record of accomplishment,” including passing gun restriction measures in the wake of the mass shooting in Aurora and his response to natural disasters.

“I’m running for President because we need dreamers in Washington but we also need to get things done,” Hickenlooper says in the ad. 

An official kickoff rally in Denver Thursday will be followed by a two-day tour of the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, according to his campaign.

The former Colorado governor’s name had been floated as a possible challenge to perhaps the most vulnerable 2020 Republican incumbent on the ballot, Sen. Cory Gardner.

Hickenlooper will argue he is the candidate most capable of defeating President Donald Trump, pointing to his success in a swing state, the Denver Post reported.

Hickenlooper criticized Trump as a “bully” in his ad.

“As a skinny kid with Coke-bottle glasses and a funny last name, I've stood up to my fair share of bullies,” Hickenlooper said. 

Hickenlooper is the second governor from the Western side of the U.S. to declare a presidential bid. 

He joins Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in a crowded primary field. Inslee, who announced his campaign last week, hinged his early campaign on the urgency of combatting global warming.

Inslee stressed climate change is a dire existential threat, while Hickenlooper used the issue to highlight his bona fides.

The former governor “brought environmentalists and oil and gas companies to the table to create the toughest methane laws in the country,” his campaign ad said.

Hickenlooper and Inslee face over a dozen other candidates — senators, mayors, executives — who have declared their bids or have announced exploratory committees.

Hickenlooper could diverge from the pack on the progressive priority of creating a single-payer healthcare system. Hickenlooper opposed a 2016 ballot measure that would have created a statewide single-payer system called ColoradoCare, calling it “premature.”

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