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Title: John Hickenlooper, former Colorado governor and brewpub owner, is running for president
Source: Vox
URL Source: https://www.vox.com/2019/3/4/182496 ... overnor-brewpub-president-2020
Published: Mar 4, 2019
Author: Tara Golshan
Post Date: 2019-03-04 16:38:05 by hondo68
Ping List: *2020 The Likely Suspects*     Subscribe to *2020 The Likely Suspects*
Keywords: None
Views: 8

Hickenlooper thinks there is room for his moderate politics in the Democratic primary.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is running for president. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Democratic presidential primary is getting bigger. John Hickenlooper, Colorado’s Democratic former governor, announced he’s running for president on Good Morning America Monday.

Hickenlooper is largely unknown nationally. Since he began exploring a possible bid, he’s been polling less than 1 percent — mostly a sign of his lack of name recognition. But he’s a popular ex-governor in an increasingly Democratic state. He’s making a bet that the crowded 2020 presidential field, already packed with US senators, entrepreneurs, mayors, and governors, has a lane for his middle-of-the-road politics.

The 67-year-old is about as close to the image of a Democrat from the Mountain West as you could come to in a lab. His announcement video opens with him in the snow, standing in front of a grand American landscape, sharing his self-made business story; after being laid off from his job as a geologist, he opened Denver’s first craft brewery pub, a business he grew to 15 restaurants and brewpubs across the Midwest.

His message is that he can work with anyone.

“I’ve proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver,” Hickenlooper said in the video, touting a record of expanding Medicaid with a split state legislature and getting oil and gas companies and environmentalists to compromise on methane regulations.

There’s a growing number of Hickenlooper-type hopefuls in the race; politicians like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) bucking the party’s leftward swings to pitch compromise, getting things done, and working across the aisle. But even the Colorado Democrat recognizes that his moderate image could be a liability in a Democratic primary.

“Look at all these primaries, right?” Hickenlooper told Politico about the 2018 midterm elections. “People like me have been casualties along the side of the road in many of these cases.”

Whether his everyman persona can carry him far out of his state will prove to be a real test.

John Hickenlooper, briefly explained

Hickenlooper has had real electoral success in Colorado. He was one of the few Democrats to survive the 2014 Republican swing midterm election and left his tenure as Colorado governor very popular for a divided state.

He’s running on 16 years of executive experience, between eight years as Denver’s mayor and eight years in the governor’s mansion, during which time he cultivated a quirky persona as the positive beer-brewing politician who would jump out of airplanes to campaign for ballot initiatives and rail against nasty politics with videos of him showering in full dress (to drive home the point that negative ads make him feel dirty).

It’s also when he developed his moderate track record, in part because Republicans controlled one chamber of the state legislature throughout his governorship.

This centrism was core to his popularity in Colorado. As FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich pointed out, the only times Hickenlooper’s popularity dipped was when he adopted liberal positions around gun control, signing in universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines; and around criminal justice, granting a stay to a death row inmate.

It’s also why Hickenlooper has tried to position himself on both sides of many issues. He has said he is supportive of the idea of a Green New Deal, but environmentalists in his state are quick to point out that he twice fought off regulations that would have kept oil companies farther away from homes, schools, and parks. He opposed the campaign to legalize marijuana in his state, until he began to see it as an “economic miracle.”

As governor, Hickenlooper opted to expand Medicaid in Colorado, which he is now touting on the 2020 campaign trail as bringing near-universal health care coverage to his state. He’s repeatedly partnered with Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich; the two crafted a health care proposal to reform the Affordable Care Act that stayed well clear of single-payer health care, and wrote to President Trump in support of NAFTA.

There are other, bigger names who would also look to drag Democrats back to the middle if they jumped into the race. But for now, Hickenlooper sees an open space for his candidacy.

“I’m running for president because we need dreamers in Washington but we also need to get things done,” Hickenlooper said in the video. (1 image)

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