IN COLORADO, nearly a dozen Democrats are vying for the opportunity to take on Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020 — a race widely seen as the party’s most promising pick-up in the Senate. One of the leading contenders, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, is running on a platform that includes Medicare for All and an aggressive plan to combat the climate crisis — and his campaign has already topped $1 million in fundraising.
But the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has thrown its weight behind former Gov. John Hickenlooper, a pro-fracking moderate. After months of rejecting calls from fellow Democrats to ditch his presidential ambitions, Hickenlooper announced on August 22 his plans to run for Senate in his home state instead.
“I’ve always said Washington was a lousy place for a guy like me who wants to get things done,” Hickenlooper said in a video announcement. “But this is no time to walk away from the table.”
THOUGH HICKENLOOPER WAS relatively popular as governor, his politics are increasingly at odds with the emerging progressive wing of the party, especially on climate change. In last year’s wave midterm elections, Colorado Democrats seized unified control of the state government for the first time since 2014. The newly empowered Democrats have used their governing trifecta to make headway on an ambitious agenda, including the most significant oil and gas regulation reform since the 1950s. As governor, Hickenlooper’s cozying up to the industries gave him the nickname “Frackenlooper.”