DENVER (AP) — Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper shot down rumblings of a potential 2016 presidential run, saying Tuesday that he “couldn’t possibly win.”
Hickenlooper is among the nation’s most popular governors, prompting supporters to speculate about his chances if he were to run for president.
A luncheon attendee at Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel asked him about “rumors” that he would consider running for president, but Hickenlooper responded: “A, I wouldn’t be good. B, I couldn’t possibly win. C, I love what I’m doing.”
Hickenlooper began his first term as governor in January. He was previously Denver mayor.
“If the community is willing re-elect me, I’ll be here as governor, you know, as long as you’ll have me. I’m perfectly happy,” he said.
It’s not unusual for politicians to say years in advance they won’t run for president, only to later launch a campaign. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican presidential candidate, repeatedly said he wouldn’t run for president.
Hickenlooper’s high approval ratings and the fact that he’s in charge of one of a handful of purple states make him a prime candidate for speculators, said John Straayer, a political science professor.
But he downplayed Hickenlooper’s prospects, saying: “It’s logical that he would be on the list … a very, very, very long list.”
Straayer said Hickenlooper’s place in the 2016 presidential rumor mill is “predictable and his response is equally predictable.”
“For what it’s worth, I will tell you right now I don’t plan to launch a candidacy for president in 2016. You can count me out,” Straayer joked.
But Jill Hanauer, president of the Denver-based Project New West, a research and political strategy firm, said Hickenlooper’s comments show why he would make a good candidate in 2016, “because he doesn’t want it that badly.”
She said voters like candidates who had a life outside of politics before taking office. Hickenlooper was a successful restaurant and brew-pub owner before he ran for mayor.
“The one thing with John Hickenlooper is, you know what you’re getting. He’s very authentic,” Hanauer said. “I’m sure he meant what he said today.” But she added: “Four years is a long time. And everybody understands that.”
– By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer
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