John Hickenlooper claims decisive win despite stumbles in Democratic primary for U.S. Senate |

John Hickenlooper claims decisive win despite stumbles in Democratic primary for U.S. Senate

The former Colorado governor overcame ethical issues and missteps and now faces Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in November

John Frank / Colorado Sun
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks to reporters on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, the day he announced he was running for U.S. Senate.
Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun

John Hickenlooper escaped with a clear victory in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Colorado on Tuesday, defeating rival Andrew Romanoff after national Democrats and a big-money super PAC boosted his beleaguered campaign.

The former Colorado governor showed a comfortable advantage in the early returns with 60% of the vote, according to preliminary vote tallies at 8 p.m. The Associated Press projected his victory 23 minutes after polls closed. 

“We have to say enough is enough. We must come together to reclaim our country,” Hickenlooper said in a victory speech. He added: “I’ve never lost an election in this state and I don’t intend to lose this one — there is far too much at stake.”

Hickenlooper will face Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in November — one of the most closely watched races in the nation and a must-win for Democrats to take control of the chamber.

“Hickenlooper won his primary with a landslide against a substantive opponent and despite late gaffes,” said Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and a prominent election forecaster, on Twitter. He added that President Donald Trump “will fare rather badly in Colorado, and that makes Gardner’s climb very steep.”

And Hickenlooper says his wide margin of victory shows that he has the support of Coloradans.

“I think the election, the turnout showed that my relationship and my history, fighting side by side with leaders in the state of Colorado, is not something that people are going to cast aside based on some attack ads,” he said in an interview after the race was called.

The Democratic race drove record turnout in the typically low-profile primary, the second-ever statewide contest in Colorado to allow the participation of unaffiliated voters. Many cast ballots earlier than normal, in part to avoid in-person voting or ballot drop off amid the pandemic. 

In Denver and Boulder — two Democratic-heavy counties and crucial harbingers of the vote — the first batch of counted ballots showed Hickenlooper with solid leads in turf where Romanoff needed to do well. Across the state, the early returns showed Hickenlooper leading in all but one county.

Romanoff conceded the race shortly before 8 p.m. and pledged to support Hickenlooper despite their differences in the race. “The causes that we champion will go on — not with me in the U.S. Senate, but with other elected officials,” Romanoff said in a four-minute concession speech broadcast online.

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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