Hickenlooper expected to end presidential bid on Thursday

Hickenlooper expected to end presidential bid on Thursday
© Greg Nash

Former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn Wright HickenlooperThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE (D) is expected to end his 2020 presidential bid on Thursday, according to a source close to Hickenlooper's campaign.

The news was first reported by The Associated Press and confirmed by The Hill.

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The New York Times reported Tuesday that Hickenlooper was considering putting an end to his presidential aspirations and turning his attention toward a potential Senate run.

If he runs for Senate and wins the Democratic nomination, the former governor would likely end up facing Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE (R-Colo.), who is seen as one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in the country. The seat is rated as a "toss up" by The Cook Political Report.  

While Hickenlooper failed to gain traction in the polls as a presidential candidate, he carries a substantial lead in hypothetical Senate polling in Colorado.

A survey conducted late last month by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group found Hickenlooper leading the state Democratic Senate primary pack at 61 percent, with his closest competitor trailing at 10 percent. 

A Democratic group formed this week to push Hickenlooper to pursue a Senate run and he is one of several presidential candidates who party leaders believe could help the Democrats take back the upper chamber.

Hickenlooper reportedly discussed the possible move with presidential candidate Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBiden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? MORE (D-Colo.).

“I am close to John. There’s nothing that he and I discussed that I feel like I can discuss here,” Bennet told MSNBC shortly after that report.

“John Hickenlooper was an exceptional mayor. He was an exceptional governor, and if he chose to run he would be an exceptional senator,” he continued.

— Reid Wilson contributed to this report.