Hickenlooper ends presidential bid

Former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Impeachment enters new crucial phase Bullock drops White House bid, won't run for Senate 2020 hopes rise for gun control groups after Virginia elections MORE (D) dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary on Thursday, fueling speculation that he will launch a Senate bid in his home state. 

He becomes the second major candidate after Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellLive coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Lawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Trump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests MORE (D-Calif.) to drop out of the crowded primary field, leaving 23 still vying for the nomination.

Hickenlooper said in a statement on Thursday that he was giving "serious thought" to launching a Senate bid.

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"I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate. They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state," Hickenlooper said. "I intend to give that some serious thought."

The former governor also decried the "dysfunction" in Washington, D.C., and said Americans were "sick" of the political climate. 

"They want this country moving forward. They’re sick of the chaos and dysfunction of Washington, D.C., and I couldn’t agree with them more," Hickenlooper said. "I ran for president because this country is being ripped apart by politics and partisan games while our biggest problems go unsolved."

Speculation has swirled for weeks that Hickenlooper will seek to challenge Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (Colo.), who is seen as one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans seeking reelection in 2020. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has reportedly been trying to push Hickenlooper to launch a Senate campaign for months and polling suggests that the former governor would have no problem getting through his state’s Democratic primary. 

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. 

Hickenlooper’s presidential campaign was never able to gain traction in the polls or with Democratic donors and showed signs of struggle last month amid a slew of resignations. 

He conceded in July that the majority of the issues facing his campaign had to do with him, but refused at the time to drop out of the race. 

The former governor often faced criticism from progressives for not being liberal enough. 

He was notably booed after he denounced socialism at the California Democratic Party's convention in June.