Hick’s ranking for president: Behind Michelle Obama but ahead of Oprah

Gov. John Hickenlooper after rappelling down 1600 Glenarm. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Hill is already handicapping Democratic presidential candidates for 2020, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper came in seventh.

Gov. John Hickenlooper after rappelling down 1600 Glenarm. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Gov. John Hickenlooper after rappelling down 1600 Glenarm. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Hill called Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren the leading contender, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, the one-time mayor of Newark.

First Lady Michelle Obama is sixth. She’d be ranked higher if she seemed like she wanted the job, which she insists she doesn’t.

“There is no figure in public life, with the possible exception of her husband, who has so strong a hold on liberal hearts and minds,” The Hill wrote.

And then comes Hickenlooper, who of course was on many vice presidential short lists but was not chosen to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. The case for Hickenlooper for president, according to The Hill is similar:

Hickenlooper presides over a state that is considered a key battleground, even though it has become more solidly Democratic in recent years. Colorado has gone for the Democratic nominee in the past three presidential elections and Clinton won the state by five points.

Hickenlooper, who has a politically effective down-to-earth persona, could potentially boost the party’s appeal in the heartlands. He has enjoyed solid approval ratings during his time in office.

One problem? While his chances are talked up among Beltway pundits, he is almost unknown in the nation at large.

Hickenlooper comes in ahead of Sen. Tim Kaine, the man who did make the vice presidential cut, outgoing Vice President Joe Biden, Clinton herself and Oprah Winfrey.

“Trump proved how powerful a currency celebrity can be — and there may be no more trusted celebrity in America than Oprah,” The Hill wrote.

Rust belt sage Michael Moore has also suggested Democrats should run famous people voters already like, like Oprah or Tom Hanks. Other analysts think the future of the Democratic Party is in the southwest and southeast, not the upper Midwest, which could make a Hickenlooper candidacy more attractive.

Does Hickenlooper want to be president? Here’s what he told Colorado Public Radio earlier this month.

I really haven’t thought too much about it… I don’t want to get a PAC and do all the work you do if you want to get ready for [a run for] president… [But] never say never. If, in 2018 when I’m done, if the country seems to be in a terrible position I might help someone else run for president; I could run for president myself. But for most people that are planning that, they go to work right now.

And what do the politically exhausted American people want? In a USA Today/Suffolk University poll earlier this month, a majority of respondents said they would be most excited about “someone entirely new” for president in 2020.

Maybe Democrats should try getting voters excited about the midterms in 2018 first.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.