By Jesse Sarles

DENVER (CBS4) – Democratic challenger John Hickenlooper has defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado’s 2020 U.S. Senate race, CBS News projects.

ELECTION RESULTS: See updated results from the 2020 general election in Colorado

Hickenlooper spent eight years as the governor of Colorado after first bursting onto the political scene as Denver’s mayor. He then made a run for the Democratic nomination for president but dropped out in the early going amid poor polling numbers and decided to run for Senate instead.

Watch: John Hickenlooper gives acceptance speech:

During his tenure as governor, he oversaw 13 federally declared disasters for wildfires and historic floods, the Great Recession and the Aurora theater shooting.

Hickenlooper has a reputation of being a consensus builder who is credited with helping rebuild the Colorado economy from one of the worst in the nation to one of the best for job creation when he left. He used that style to bring the fracking factions to the table, negotiating the first methane capture rule in the country. Hickenlooper also created a task force to help build regulations in an effort to avoid ballot measures.

But he has also filed lawsuits against cities that banned fracking and has also fought for tax increases for education and transportation.

Hickenlooper’s list of achievements in Colorado includes in-state tuition for DREAMers, civil unions for same sex couples and an expansion of Medicaid.

Geology brought Hickenlooper to Colorado but when that didn’t work out, he joined the group that opened one of the first craft breweries in the state, Wynkoop Brewing.

RELATED: ‘We Need To Be United Together’: Sen. Gardner Concedes | ‘Time To Turn The Page’: Hickenlooper Delivers Victory Speech

Gardner defeated Democrat Mark Udall in the 2014 election and didn’t vote for President Donald Trump, his party’s nominee, in 2016. He pivoted after that and pledged support for Trump. He worked with the president to put Space Command in Colorado Springs and the Bureau of Land Management Headquarters in Grand Junction.

Watch: Sen. Cory Gardner gives concession speech:

He also pushed through a bill to authorize 811, a national suicide prevention hotline, and called for hearings on coronavirus in January.

Jesse Sarles

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