(NEWSER) – Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday ended his longshot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and said he may instead challenge one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans in 2020. In a video message, Hickenlooper said he had heard from many in his state urging him to enter the Senate race, the AP reports. "They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state," he said. "I intend to give that some serious thought." Colorado's shift to the left could put Sen. Cory Gardner's seat in jeopardy for Republicans, and at least 10 Democrats have launched campaigns, setting up a competitive primary even before Hickenlooper, 67, makes a decision.
Hickenlooper, a multimillionaire thanks to his founding of a series of brewpubs, began his White House campaign in March, promising to unite the country. Instead, he quickly became a political punch line. With the campaign struggling to raise money, his staff urged Hickenlooper to instead challenge Gardner. But Hickenlooper stayed in and hired another group of aides in a last-ditch effort to turn around his campaign. He positioned himself as a common-sense candidate who couldn't be labeled a "socialist" by Republicans. But Hickenlooper couldn't make his voice heard in the crowded Democratic field of about two dozen candidates. Republicans seized on the meltdown of Hickenlooper's campaign as evidence the Democratic Party has become too radical. "A two-term governor of a swing state and #2020 presidential #Democrat candidate who was booed for warning against his party's embrace of socialist policies has been forced out of the race," tweeted Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump aide, on Thursday. "Not left-wing enough..." (Rep. Eric Swalwell dropped out of the race in July.)