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Ex-Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper says he's running for Senate

Democratic presidential candidate former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at the National Forum on Wages and Working People: Creating an Economy That Works for All at Enclave on April 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says he will challenge Republican incumbent Cory Gardner for his Senate seat.

Hickenlooper announced his run by video message on Thursday. He becomes the front-runner in a crowded Democratic primary field competing for the right to face Gardner, considered the most vulnerable Republican senator in the country.

Hickenlooper initially brushed off Democratic entreaties to run against Gardner. Instead he mounted a longshot presidential campaign that collapsed before it ended in mid-August.

The Democrats already in the Senate race are younger, and they have indicated they won't go quietly. One said the primary "won't be a coronation."

Hickenlooper remains widely popular and well known with Colorado Democrats, but Republicans hope Democratic Party's generational struggles will wound him in the primary.

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Jay Inslee drops out of the 2020 presidential race

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  • "This is our moment to put the greatest threat to our existence, to our economy, to our health, at the very top of the nation's agenda," Inslee said in March at his campaign's kickoff event in Seattle.