Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announces presidential bid

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Monday he will seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. president.

Hickenlooper joins a crowded and growing Democratic field seeking to unseat President Donald Trump in 2020.

In a video announcing his campaign, Hickenlooper touted his progressive credentials as governor, citing expanded health care coverage, stricter methane emissions laws, and firearm background checks that became law under his watch.

“We’re facing a crisis that threatens everything we stand for,” Hickenlooper said in the video over an image of President Trump. “As a skinny kid with Coke bottle glasses and a funny last name, I’ve stood up to my fair share of bullies.”

Hickenlooper gave a timeline of his career in the video, from being an unemployed geologist to co-founding a brewery in Denver, to becoming the city’s mayor and then serving eight years as governor.

“We transformed Denver into a national model for what a city could be,” he said. Hickenlooper took credit for bringing environmentalist groups and gas companies together “to create the toughest methane emissions law in the country.”

“We beat the NRA by enacting universal background checks and banning high capacity magazines,” he added.

“I’ve proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver,” the former governor said.

Hickenlooper may struggle to distinguish himself in an exceedingly progressive Democratic primary, being considered a moderate who’s pro-business and pro-fossil fuel industry.

As governor, he faced criticism from environmental groups when he opposed Proposition 112, which would have created new mandates on oil and gas development but was rejected by voters. Hickenlooper has also said that he would “guess that 99 percent of what's in the Green New Deal I will be happy to embrace."

Hickenlooper also supports universal health care, which will likely be a litmus test during the Democratic primary.

The former Colorado governor joins an already crowded field with faces more familiar on the national stage, like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, among others.

Hickenlooper will kick off his campaign Thursday at a rally in Denver then head to tour Iowa.

Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News. He’s also an editor at The Daily Caller.