Presidential hopeful and former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperPennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress Ohio GOP congressman tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado remap plan creates new competitive district MORE (D) sent out a fundraising blast to supporters Wednesday citing a viral moment from the weekend when he was booed for saying "socialism is not the answer" to defeating President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE.
Hickenlooper had said at the California Democratic Party convention that Republicans would use socialism to try to paint the party as out of touch.
“A lot of people in the crowd didn’t want to hear that simple truth, and responded with boos—but John didn’t back down. He stood tall and declared ‘if we’re not careful, we’re going to help re-elect the worst president in history,’” the email said. “Beating Donald Trump next year will require us to stand up and tell the hard truths, even when they’re not popular.”
Hickenlooper, who compiled a centrist record while working with Republican state lawmakers during his two terms as Colorado’s governor, doubled down on his intention to address issues prioritized by the progressive wing but vowed he would not embrace “socialist policies.”
“Look, we can all agree on this: We need a health care system that works for all Americans. We need a bold response to climate change. We need an economy that puts workers and small businesses first. We need to make all of these a reality,” the email read. “But embracing socialist policies isn’t the way to get there.”
Hickenlooper has struggled to gain traction in a crowded primary field that already boasts 24 contenders, many of whom have greater name recognition and heftier campaign bank accounts than the Colorado Democrat.
However, he defended his campaign’s approach in an interview with The Hill after he was booed Saturday.
“If we don't draw a clear distinction between Democrats and our candidates and socialism, the Republicans will paint us into a corner that we can't get out of,” Hickenlooper said. “Massive government expansions may not be strictly speaking socialism, but trust me: Republicans will make it seem like socialism. In places like Ohio and Michigan and North Carolina and Wisconsin, places we have to win to beat Trump, we'll be starting out ten yards behind.”