“I’m running for president because we’re facing a crisis that threatens everything we stand for,” Hickenlooper said over a picture of Donald Trump in a campaign video titled Stand Tall. “As a skinny kid with Coke-bottle glasses and a funny last name, I’ve stood up to my fair share of bullies,” he said.
Hickenlooper has teased a run for months. Originally an oil industry geologist laid off in the 1980s, Hickenlooper opened a brew pub that he eventually grew turned into multiple restaurants and bars, giving him a background as a successful entrepreneur and executive. At 50, he became mayor of Denver and eventually Colorado governor for eight years when his term ended January 2019.
Hickenlooper is emphasizing his ability to work with a divided legislature, the state’s achievement of health care coverage for 95% of the population, high job growth, environmental laws, and universal background checks for gun purchases and bans on high-capacity gun magazines (more than 15 rounds) after the Aurora mass shooting. Under his watch, Colorado also legalized recreational marijuana.
“I’ve proven again and again that I can bring people together to produce the progressive change that Washington has failed to deliver,” Hickenlooper said.
Some Democratic strategists and consultants note that Hickenlooper has the executive experience the resumé of a governor offers, according to the Los Angeles Times. But he still lacks an overriding issue that could capture attention and let him pull away from the crowded field.