(CBS4) – Dan Baer, a former Obama administration official and head of Colorado’s Department of Higher Education, announced Thursday he is dropping out of the race for U.S. Senate.

“Today I am suspending my campaign for the U.S. Senate and endorsing John Hickenlooper as the candidate who will beat Cory Gardner next November. We must win this seat!” Baer stated Thursday.

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Gardner is considered the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election in 2020. That’s because Colorado has been steadily trending toward Democrats. The party won every statewide race in November.

“This campaign has been a joyful expression of values– of a commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for every person,” Baer stated.

(credit: Dan Baer/Twitter)

“Our country is ready for a new, diverse generation of leaders who will drive the kind of change that will help Americans look to the 21st century with confidence and hope rather than looking back at the 20th century with white-washed nostalgia. And I commit to help elect fresh voices in 2020,” Baer stated.

(credit: Dan Baer/Twitter)

“Breaking barriers is rarely achieved by one campaign. And it’s never only one person who rises to meet a moment. We are in this together, the fight for progress goes on, and I hope to continue to serve Colorado and our country on the road ahead,” Baer’s statement continued.

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(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)