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Hickenlooper will face Gardner for Colorado Senate seat

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Colorado’s former two-term Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) won his party’s primary on Tuesday and will go on to challenge incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R) in the fall.

Hickenlooper briefly ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination before dropping out to run for U.S. Senate. Colorado is seen as one of the most likely pick up seats for Democrats in the November elections.

“We are living in awfully tough times, and it’s clear we have our work cut out for us. But at every tough moment, Colorado has always risen to the challenge. When you and I beat Cory Gardner, flip the Senate, and change Washington, America will roar back stronger than ever,” tweeted Hickenlooper.

Hickenlooper has statewide name recognition, a big campaign war chest and the powerful backing of outside PACS spending on his behalf.

Republicans are pointing to Hickenlooper’s past ethics troubles, releasing ads bashing the former governor. Hickenlooper was found in contempt of defying a subpoena to show up for a remote hearing and for twice violating the rule against accepting gifts when he was governor.

“Chuck Schumer’s top-tier recruit needed a last-minute bailout to get over the finish line of his own primary, but no amount of dark money will erase the fact that Hickenlooper has repeatedly betrayed the trust of taxpayers and continues to hide the truth from voters about his corporate-paid travel as governor,” said a National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has fired back saying Republicans are worried because of how popular Hickenlooper is.

“John Hickenlooper is one of Colorado’s most popular public officials after his successful two terms as governor, he’s got a record of winning tough statewide races, and it’s clear that Republicans are attacking him now because they know he’s the strongest candidate to beat Cory Gardner,” the group said.

Gardner is seen as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in 2020. Hilary Clinton won his state by five points in 2016. He’s been distancing himself from President Donald Trump during the campaign but that hasn’t kept the president from supporting him.

“Senator @CoryGardner from Colorado is a GREAT Senator who always fights for the people of his state. He protects your #2A, loves our Vets and Military, and cares deeply about our BEAUTIFUL public lands. Cory has my Complete and Total Endorsement! #COSEN,” Trump tweeted.

Gardner is serving his first term in the U.S. Senate. He previously served in the U.S. Representative from 2011 to 2015.

PHOTO: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

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