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Gov. John Hickenlooper stands with his wife, Robin Pringle, and son, Teddy, before the inauguration of Governor-elect Jared Polis at the Colorado State Capitol on Jan. 8, 2019. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post/Pool)

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper formally ended his failed-to-launch presidential bid on Thursday morning, pouring gasoline on speculation about whether he will jump into the state’s crowded Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Hickenlooper made the announcement in a video shared by his campaign, but did not answer the question about his political future.

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“In almost every regard this journey has been more exciting and more rewarding then I ever imagined, although I did imagine a very different conclusion,” he said in the 3-minute video. “… People want to know what comes next for me. I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate. They remind of how much is at stake for our country and state. I intend to give that some serious thought.”

News broke late Wednesday that Hickenlooper was set to abandon his presidential ambitions, ending a run that began in March but failed to ever really gain traction. Hickenlooper struggled to make much headway in the polls and fundraising proved immensely difficult. 

Top campaign staffers also decamped in July, complicating what was already a long-shot bid. Unflattering stories in The Washington Post and The New York Times didn’t help.

“I ran for president because this country is being ripped apart by politics and partisan games while our biggest problems go unsolved,” he said in his video, adding that he thinks the country can still come together and make progress.

YouTube video

The inability of his campaign to take off is a great disappointment for a man once floated as a vice-presidential pick or cabinet secretary under Democrat Hillary Clinton. As far back as 2013 he garnered glowing profiles that pondered his national potential.

Hickenlooper joins U.S. Rep. Eric Swallwell, D-California, as the only major candidates so far to drop out of the massive presidential primary race. 

Should Hickenlooper decide to run to unseat Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner — a move he’s being pressured to make — he can transfer whatever money he still has in his presidential campaign coffers. More than 10 Democrats are already running in the senate primary, many of whom have indicated they don’t plan to leave the contest if Hickenlooper jumps in.

The Colorado Sun — Desk: 720-432-2229 Jesse Paul is a political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is...