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Politics and Government

Another Democrat drops out of U.S. Senate race following John Hickenlooper’s entrance

Former U.S. Attorney John Walsh on Wednesday morning announced the end of his bid to unseat Republican Cory Gardner

Democratic candidate for Senate and former U.S. Attorney John Walsh speaks at Indivisible Denver's candidate forum at Barnum Park in Denver on June 9, 2019. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)
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Former U.S. Attorney John Walsh on Wednesday morning became the second Democrat to drop out of Colorado’s U.S. Senate primary race following the entrance of John Hickenlooper.

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Walsh suspended his campaign, which began April 16, in video posted to his Facebook page and a message sent to supporters. He endorsed Hickenlooper as he left the race.

“I believe that Gov. Hickenlooper offers our clear, best opportunity to beat Cory Gardner and win back this seat,” Walsh said in the video.

Last week, former state Sen. Mike Johnston left the race, citing Hickenlooper’s campaign as his main reason.

Walsh’s departure from the contest leaves 10 Democrats vying for their party’s nomination.

His decision contradicts what he said just days earlier in an interview with The Colorado Sun. On Saturday, ahead of the candidate forum in Durango, he said he was not thinking about whether to drop out. Walsh said Hickenlooper lacks sufficient federal experience compared to his work as a U.S. attorney.

Hickenlooper “does not have that level of federal experience, the way federal agencies work, the way Congress works, cabinet secretaries and others work,” Walsh said of the former governor.

Hickenlooper abandoned his presidential ambitions and became a U.S. Senate contender in a week-long span in August, reshuffling the primary battle to try to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner next year.

MORE: Here’s who’s running to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020 — and who’s thinking about it

Walsh vowed to stay involved in politics, even as he leaves the Senate contest.

“I’m not going to be going away,” he said. “… The future of our democracy is on the line. Failure is not an option. With all of us working together we will win.”

Hickenlooper, who lives in the same neighborhood as Walsh and considers him a friend, issued a statement praising his former rival and said he was honored to have his support.

Staff writer John Frank contributed to this report.

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