Updated Jul 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Colorado: Hickenlooper wins Democratic Senate primary

Hickenlooper
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper won the state's Democratic primary for U.S. Senate on Tuesday evening, per AP.

Of note: Hickenlooper wasn't the only eye-catching win Tuesday night. Lauren Boebert (R) defeated the Trump-endorsed incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in the Republican primary for Colorado's third congressional district.

Why Hickenlooper's win matters: He will now face off against Sen. Cory Gardner — largely considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the November general elections. But the former governor has faced recent backlash over past comments and ethics complaints.

  • Hickenlooper apologized this month for his 2014 comments comparing public officials to slaves being whipped on an "ancient slave ship."
  • An ethics committee determined that Hickenlooper violated state law by accepting gifted rides in a private jet and a Maserati limousine, per the Washington Post. He was fined $3,000, and held in contempt after failing to appear for the first day of hearings on the matter.

Between the lines: Hickenlooper was the latest establishment Democrat to face a possible upset from a more progressive challenger — in this case, former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

  • 16-term Rep. Eliot Engel (D) was notably defeated last week in the New York primaries by Jamaal Bowman, a progressive former middle school principle.
  • Amy McGrath, a 2018 sweetheart of the Democratic Party, nearly lost to progressive Charles Booker in the Kentucky Democratic Senate primary amid ongoing pressure from Black Lives Matter activists.
  • In Colorado, Romanoff was in favor of Medicare-for-All and the Green New Deal — both policy positions that Hickenlooper has veered to the right of.
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