Hickenlooper Kicks Off Bid For Senate Seat With Rep. Perlmutter And Beer

John Hickenlooper AARP Forum
Charlie Neibergall/AP
Then Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper speaks during a presidential candidates forum sponsored by AARP and The Des Moines Register, Monday, July 15, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Updated at 6:41

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper launched a bid for the U.S. Senate nomination at an event in Golden on Thursday.

The guest list includes state lawmakers and at least one member of Congress. Even before Hickenlooper officially entered the race, Congressman Ed Perlmutter from Jefferson County tweeted his support for the ex-presidential candidate.

"John Hickenlooper was an outstanding Governor and he would be a great Senator for Colorado," Perlmutter said when Hickenlooper was still weighing getting in. "If he decides to run, I'll be proud to support him."

At an event with the Colorado Chamber of Commerce on Thursday Perlmutter told CPR he believes Hickenlooper has the best chance to beat Sen. Gardner. "Cory is a smart guy and a tough candidate and it's going to take everything that we Democrats and John Hickenlooper can to do defeat him. So this is a real race."

Colorado's other Democratic members of Congress, Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse and Jason Crow, have not yet publicly endorsed anyone.

"I'm going to talk to [Hickenlooper] I've been talking to the other folks," said DeGette. "I love John. I've worked with him for many, many years as both mayor and Governor." She added, "I think that we have a really high quality field and I think that it's a robust debate and I think that benefits the ultimate nominee. "

Crow said he's not ready to endorse any one in the race. "We're going to see what happens. It's obviously exciting to see Hickenlooper and what he has to offer and his deep understanding of the state jump in the race, but we have other candidates too I've had discussions with, so we're going to see what happens in the months ahead."

Hickenlooper is the 12th Democrat to enter the primary race to try to unseat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. The other candidates have been quick to draw contrasts with the former governor in areas of policy. They have criticized him for his past support of oil and gas development and his opposition on the presidential campaign trail to Medicare For All.

For their part, The Colorado Republican Party has focused its response on the numerous times during his campaign for president that Hickenlooper dismissed the idea of running for Senate and said he wouldn't be good at it.

Editor's Note: Because of an editing error the story and headline incorrectly characterized the campaign event. The story and headline have been corrected.