With the end of his second term in sight, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is weighing his political future and says he’ll see how a potential presidential run feels this summer.
Hickenlooper, a Democrat who was re-elected as governor in 2014 and is term limited, will leave office in 2018. He told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast from The University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN, that he wants to take some time to sit down and think about a presidential run, but he plans to wait until his departure to make a final decision.
“This summer we’ll see how it begins to feel,” Hickenlooper said, “You’d have to get much more polished than what I am now, in terms of what my message would be and what I would bring that’s different than other candidates.”
Once rumored as a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton, Hickenlooper said his focus remains on his state. He’s pushing economic development into rural parts of the state and overseeing the legalization of marijuana, even though he was publicly opposed to the measure. He noted Colorado’s ranking as the No. 1 economy in the country for two years in a row.
“The moment I start a PAC and start talking about what I’m going to do in 2020 not only do I get distracted, but my Cabinet gets distracted and it’s a disadvantage,” Hickenlooper said. “I’ve attracted, I think, the most talented team of people I’ve ever worked with, and we’re taking on what I think are the most important issues the state can deal with. I think it’s more important to focus on that and finish strong.”
‘I’m not connected to Washington’
Hickenlooper admits he tries not to talk about President Donald Trump in the office because, he says, it’s a “waste of time.”
“As a governor, I’m not connected to Washington. I’m obviously concerned about it and in some cases I have my nightmares about what’s going on there sometimes,” he said.
He has teamed up with Ohio Gov. John Kasich on major issues such as health care. There has been speculation that the two will join for a unity presidential ticket.
“I’m a socially very liberal Democrat and we’ve been trying to show that we can find common ground and compromise and really fix the Affordable Care Act without throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” he said.
When it comes to immigration, Hickenlooper says he is frustrated by the “insane level of bitter division.”
“I don’t disagree that we need borders and we need to be able to police them, but I don’t think we need a wall,” he said.
If asked by the President to send National Guard troops to the southern border, Hickenlooper says, he would adamantly oppose.
“We’re not going to send our troops down there to do the work of immigration enforcement,” he said, “We’re not going to be part of enforcement under any circumstance and nor should we.”