Hickenlooper announces Senate bid

Former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperObama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Gardner says GOP committee should stop airing attack ad on opponent Hickenlooper Democrats' lurch toward the radical left — and other useful myths MORE (D), who last week ended his 2020 presidential campaign, announced on Thursday that he will seek a seat in the U.S. Senate.

“I’m not done fighting for the people of Colorado,” he said in a video attacking Washington over pre-existing conditions, prescription prices and the opening of public land to developers.

“I don’t think Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project Trump signs major conservation bill into law 300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee MORE understands that the games he’s playing with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE and Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump's election delay red herring On The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project MORE are hurting the people of Colorado,” he said, referring to Colorado's incumbent Republican senator, the president and the Senate majority leader, respectively.

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“We ought to be working together to move this country forward and stop the political nonsense,” he added.

Hickenlooper noted in a statement when he dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary that he was giving “serious thought” to challenging Gardner.

He was one of several Democrats running for president who had come under intense pressure to give up their White House ambitions in favor of a Senate run as the party hopes to chip away at the GOP’s 53-47 majority or retake the upper chamber.

Gardner is widely considered to be one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection next year, especially given Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war Should Biden consider a veteran for vice president? Biden leads Trump by nearly 40 points in California: poll MORE’s victory over Trump in Colorado in 2016. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as a “toss up.”

Though Hickenlooper will certainly enter the Senate race as a top-tier contender, particularly given his high name recognition from his eight years as Colorado governor, reports have surfaced that his standing may have taken a hit in the state over his failed White House bid as he enters a primary crowd that already includes roughly a dozen candidates.

An adviser to another Democrat in the race told Politico that Hickenlooper will "have to prove his mettle."

“John Hickenlooper is desperate to redeem himself after flopping on the national stage, but we think he said it best just a few months ago: he is ‘not cut out’ for the Senate,'" said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez. "This crowded Senate field has been in a race to the left and Hickenlooper’s quixotic presidential bid did not do him any favors in proving he can compete in any race in 2020.”

Hickenlooper repeatedly dismissed speculation earlier this year as his presidential campaign struggled to gain traction that he would consider a Senate bid should he fail to secure the Democratic nomination.

“I’m not cut out to be a senator,” Hickenlooper said in February. “Senators don’t build teams. Senators sit and debate in small groups, which is important, right? But I’m not sure that’s my — I’m a doer. That’s what gives me joy.”

Updated at 7:36 a.m.