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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper dropped his presidential bid Thursday, becoming the first high-profile Democrat to exit the 2020 race.

Why it matters: Hickenlooper had been facing pressure from other Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, to withdraw from the presidential race and run for Senate in Colorado.

  • In the video announcing his departure, Hickenlooper said he'd give "some serious thought" to running for Senate in Colorado.
  • As a presidential candidate, Hickenlooper has struggled to stand out and he’s polled between 0% and 1% since January. But polls among Colorado voters show he’s the clear favorite among any Democratic Senate candidate in the state.

The big picture: When Hickenlooper and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met at the beginning of the month, a source familiar with the meeting said Schumer made his hopes very clear.

  • "You could be the person who is the firewall between Mitch McConnell staying as majority leader in 2021 or the Democrats taking the Senate," the source said Schumer told Hickenlooper. "Chuck Schumer needs John Hickenlooper real bad."
  • Earlier this week, Axios reported on a Democratic group that launched a "Draft Hickenlooper" campaign to encourage him to drop out of the presidential race to run for Senate.

Go deeper

Resurrecting Martin Luther King's office

King points to Selma, Alabama on a map at his Southern Christian Leadership Conference office in Atlanta in January 1965. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Contributor

Efforts to save the office where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., planned some of the most important moments of the civil rights movement are hitting roadblocks amid a political stalemate.

Why it matters: The U.S. Park Service needs to OK agreements so a developer restoring the historic Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in Atlanta — which once housed King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference — can tap into private funding and begin work.

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.