Hickenlooper to Drop Out of Presidential Race, Eyeing Senate Run

Would be favorite for Democratic nomination in Colorado

Democratic presidential candidate Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper / Getty Images

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will end his floundering presidential campaign Thursday according to multiple reports. Hickenlooper struggled to gain any real ground in a crowded Democratic field, and recent poll numbers indicated his planned campaign reboot was not working.

Hickenlooper is strongly considering a pivot to entering the Senate race where he would face off against Republican incumbent Cory Gardner (Colo.), according to The New York Times. Colorado is a vital seat for Democrats to flip if they plan on retaking the Senate in 2020.

Hickenlooper's presidential campaign saw a plethora of struggles, including several staff departures earlier this summer. He struggled to keep pace with his opponents' fundraising numbers, and senior advisors urged him to drop out of the race after several staffers departed the campaign, including his campaign manager and communications director.

While he participated in the first two Democratic debates, Hickenlooper did not look likely to qualify for the third debate in September. However, if he jumps into the Senate race, polls indicate he would have a massive advantage over other Democratic candidates for the nomination, and would be a major priority for national Democratic interests.

Hickenlooper's campaign was based on his image as a business friendly, progressive Democrat. He refused to call himself a capitalist despite consistently touting his business achievements, saying he didn't like labelling himself.

He also clashed with local media on several different occasions, including quitting a radio interview last week after being asked a question about abortion. The radio host blasted Hickenlooper for fleeing the interview, saying, "that's a joke." Hickenlooper also went after local reporters during a re-election campaign for governor in 2013, telling the reporter "you lose your ability to have access when you treat people like that."

He is not expected to make an announcement today regarding a potential Senate run, according to the Times.