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Hickenlooper talking to reporters after the second debate. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Democratic group 314 Action, which supports candidates with a science background, is launching a six-figure "Draft Hickenlooper" campaign Tuesday to encourage John Hickenlooper to drop out of the 2020 presidential race and instead run for Senate, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Hickenlooper would almost certainly win the nomination for Senate — he's favored by 61% of Democratic primary voters in Colorado, according to a new poll by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group.

  • The same is harder to see at this point in the cycle for his presidential fortunes.
  • He has been polling between 0% and 1% since the beginning of 2019.
  • Several of his top staffers ditched him after the first debate, leaving his presidential campaign in shambles.

"It’s a big sacrifice for Hickenlooper, but a sacrifice that America needs," said Josh Morrow, 314 Action's executive director.

  • The Hickenlooper campaign declined to comment.

The backstory: Morrow told Axios he's heard from Democrats in Colorado close to Hickenlooper, as well as many among their organization's nearly 1 million members, who are yearning for him to drop out.

  • "We're hoping John understands there’s a real need for him in the Senate to put this country back to normal," Morrow said.
  • They've monitored Hickenlooper's stagnant polling and low fundraising numbers throughout the cycle, and they think their grassroots network of Democratic supporters can help raise at least $500,000 for him through small-dollar donors.
  • The group bought the homepage ad on the Denver Post's website for the entire day tomorrow, and they're placing digital ads around the country to raise money for this effort.
  • If he doesn't decide to run, Morrow said all the donations will be refunded.

The big picture: 314 Action launched a similar campaign to encourage Mark Kelly to run for Senate in Arizona, and they've since raised over $450,000 for him.

  • "If Mark Kelly is any indication, we saw from Alaska to Hawaii people who have supported his campaign," Morrow added.
  • He argued that Hickenlooper could more easily gain national support as a Senate candidate than a presidential candidate because it's a smaller field and he'd be challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who's viewed favorably by 40% of Coloradans and unfavorably by 39%.

For what it's worth, a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee aide said they "haven't heard anything new" on Hickenlooper's political future.

Go deeper: John Delaney's staffers have asked him to drop out

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.