Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Monday, the second governor and 14th candidate to join the field seeking to take on Republican Donald Trump in 2020.
In a video announcing his candidacy, the 67-year-old Hickenlooper said he’s seeking the White House “because we’re facing a crisis that threatens everything we stand for.”
“I’ve proven again and again I can bring people together to produce the progressive change Washington has failed to deliver,” he said.
A former geologist and self-described “nerd,” Hickenlooper went into politics after earning a fortune opening up a string of brewpubs in Denver, Colorado’s largest city, and other towns.
A political moderate, Hickenlooper took aim at Trump in his campaign launch video. “As a skinny kid with Coke bottle glasses and a funny last name, I’ve stood up to my fair share of bullies,” he said.
Hickenlooper served as mayor of Denver from 2003 to 2011 and as governor of Colorado from 2011 to January 2019.
He oversaw Colorado’s economic boom during his tenure as governor, which was also marked by devastating wildfires, floods and a mass shooting at a movie theater that left 12 people dead.
Colorado passed tough gun control legislation following the 2012 shooting and the state also moved to legalize marijuana while Hickenlooper was in office.
A former chair of the National Governors Association, Hickenlooper is well known in Democratic leadership circles, but not to the larger public outside his home state.
Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday, Hickenlooper said the United States is suffering from a “crisis of division.”
“I think it’s probably the worst period of division that we’ve had in this country since the Civil War,” he said.
“Ultimately I’m running for president because I believe that not only can I beat Donald Trump but that I am the person that can bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done.”
– 14 candidates, possibly more to come –
Others who have announced bids to become the Democratic nominee are US senators Bernie Sanders, 77, Kamala Harris, 54, Elizabeth Warren, 69, Cory Booker, 49, Amy Klobuchar, 58, and Kirsten Gillibrand, 52.
Also running are Washington state governor Jay Inslee, 68, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, 37, of Hawaii, former Maryland congressman John Delaney, 55, Obama-era housing secretary Julian Castro, 44, of Texas, and South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, who would be the first openly gay nominee of a major party.
Two non-politicians are also in the race — Andrew Yang, 44, a technology executive, and Marianne Williamson, a 66-year-old self-help author.
And several other potential candidates are waiting in the wings, including former vice president Joe Biden, 76, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, 46, and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, 66.
Four former US governors have become president since 1976.
Democrat Jimmy Carter, a former governor of Georgia, was elected to the White House in 1976 and was followed by former California governor Ronald Reagan, a Republican, in 1980.
Former Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, a Democrat, won the 1992 presidential election and was succeeded by former Texas governor George W. Bush, a Republican.