John Hickenlooper Enters 2020 Presidential Race
John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, had ended speculation and announced his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President of the United States.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1952, Hickenlooper attended Wesleyan University, where he received a master’s degree in geology. The field brought him to Colorado, where he worked for in Buckhorn Petroleum, but a downturn in the industry in the 80s led him to be laid off.
During his unemployment, Hickenlooper traveled to California, saw a brewpub in Oakland and thought that concept would work in Denver. It led him to open Wynkoop Brewing Company in 1988, a large brewpub that went on to help reinvigorate the LoDo area of Denver and made Hickenlooper a wealthy man with enough money to fund, invest and run breweries across the country.
The success of Wynkoop — and Hickenlooper’s connections to Denver that grew out of that — led him to successfully run for mayor of Denver in 2003, a position he held for eight years before serving two terms as Colorado’s governor from 2011 to 2019. The governor’s electoral history includes winning re-election in 2014, an election cycle that saw a number of Democrats lose their jobs.
Hickenlooper’s eight years as governor were defined by a series of tragedies, namely catastrophic wildfires and floods in 2013 and the 2012 shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 people dead. And the former mayor spent considerable time working with Republicans in the state to pass methane gas regulations and expand Medicaid.
“Some of his biggest supporters have been prominent statewide Republicans,” said Max Potter, Hickenlooper’s former senior media advisor and speechwriter.
That ability to appeal to Republicans has led Hickenlooper to have a national reputation as a moderate executive.
“What John brings to the table may not ‘excite’ the Ocasio-Cortez base,” Potter said, referencing the liberal Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, “but what it should excite is the chance for a Democratic party to beat Donald Trump”
That last part, plus trying to get traction in a crowded field of candidates, will be questions John Hickenlooper will need answers to going forward if he is to win.