(CBS4) – Former President Barack Obama on Monday included John Hickenlooper among the Democratic candidates he says he’s endorsing in this fall’s elections. Hickenlooper is running for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner.

“I’m proud to endorse this diverse and hopeful collection of thoughtful, empathetic, and highly qualified Democrats. If you’re in one of their districts or states, make sure you vote for them this fall. And if you can, vote early—by mail or in person,” Obama tweeted. His list, which will grow longer later, displayed for Colorado both Hickenlooper and Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat who represents Colorado’s 6th Congressional District.

President Barack Obama played Gov. John Hickenlooper in pool at the Wynkoop Brewing Company in July 2014.

President Barack Obama played Gov. John Hickenlooper in pool at the Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver in July 2014. (credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

A poll released last week shows the race between Gardner and Hickenlooper is tightening. Gardner is appealing to undecided Colorado voters on issues like the environment.

“Senator Gardner is employing the same strategy a lot of Republicans have used to win statewide office in Colorado over the past several decades,” CBS4 conservative political analyst Dick Wadhams told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd last Friday.

“The voters in the middle really do want their elected officials to maintain our environment here in Colorado, and Cory has done so much on that front. And he’s got a great story to tell about what he’s done as a U.S. Senator. So I think that’s one reasons he’s closing the gap with Hickenlooper.”

Sen. Cory Gardner speaks with President Donald Trump on stage during a Keep America Great rally on Feb. 20, 2020, in Colorado Springs.

Sen. Cory Gardner speaks with President Donald Trump on stage during a Keep America Great rally in February in Colorado Springs. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

CBS4 liberal political analyst Mike Dino told Boyd he thinks the economy is going to be the overriding issue in the election.

“Certainly Senator Gardner has to deal with the president and what he brings to it. And I think focusing on environmental issues helps him with suburban voters to some extent, because he’s really got to convince them — because the president’s certainly isn’t — that Republicans should stay in power,” Dino said. “But the economy will override everything, and I think that’s what’s going to be on voters’ minds.”

Hickenlooper said he’s “honored” to have Obama’s support. “In the Senate, I look forward to building on the work we did together here in Colorado, from protecting and expanding health care, to tackling climate change, to making it easier to vote,” he tweeted.

Jesse Sarles