Every new week seems to bring a new Democratic candidate into the 2020 race, and Monday's entrant is John Hickenlooper. The former governor of Colorado, 67, served two terms, the last ending in January. He also served as mayor of Denver. He eschews attack ads and is seen as a political moderate with a pro-business slant and a quirky personality. Axios has some bio basics, including his turnaround on legal marijuana, which he once opposed. Here are five quick takes:
- Non-political start: He wasn't in politics the first 50 years of his life, notes the Washington Post. He began as a geologist. "Laid off at age 36, he co-founded a microbrewery in a distressed Denver neighborhood—the first in a state that would become known for its craft beers. Within a few years, Hickenlooper was a rich man ..."
- The big question: "Colorado political observers also are wondering whether the cautious, consensus-building approach that has marked his governorship is too timid for the national stage or whether it’s just what the United States needs after the chaos of the Trump administration," observes the hometown Denver Post.
- Selling point: "In a Democratic field featuring numerous legislators, Hickenlooper will attempt to distinguish himself by pointing to his executive accomplishments over two terms as Colorado governor and two terms as mayor of the state’s largest city," per Politico. He also managed to become the first Denver mayor to become governor in more than a century, and he did so in a 2010 election in which Democrats did not fare well nationally.
- A strength: "What Hickenlooper does have going for him is that he may be more skilled than most at getting his name out there," observes FiveThirtyEight. "He’s run some of the best political ads in recent memory, including endearing spots about parking meters and his humble wardrobe, which helped him stand out in a wide-open field (sound familiar?) during his first run for mayor. And later ads in which he went skydiving and took a shower—fully clothed—were nothing if not memorable."
- He'll drink what? "Hickenlooper has hedged on supporting Democratic rallying cries like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal to combat climate change," per the AP. "He once worked as a geologist for a petroleum company and was roundly criticized for telling a congressional panel he drank fracking fluid while arguing for the safety of the energy extraction technique."
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