Hickenlooper ends presidential bid

Former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperKamala Harris makes history — as a Westerner Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority Republicans uncomfortably playing defense 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 Swalwell'This already exists': Democrats seize on potential Trump executive order on preexisting conditions Swalwell: Barr has taken Michael Cohen's job as Trump's fixer The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Chris Christie says Trump team wasn't aggressive enough early in COVID-19 crisis; Tensions between White House, Fauci boil over 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 GardnerMcConnell warns control of Senate 'could go either way' in November Senate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement 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.