Stories

Exclusive: Democratic group wants Hickenlooper to drop out of the 2020 race

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