John Hickenlooper Will Run for Senate in Colorado, a Key Target for Democrats

John Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor who ended his ill-fated presidential campaign last week, announced Thursday that he would run for a United States Senate seat in his home state, instantly making him one of the Democrats’ best hopes in their quest to retake the chamber next year.

Mr. Hickenlooper was said to be resistant to the idea of running for the Senate while he was still in the presidential race, telling reporters that he was “not cut out to be a senator.” But discussions about a bid grew serious in recent weeks as his campaign faded, senior aides abandoned his team and he failed to secure a spot in the next Democratic debate.

“I’ve always said Washington was a lousy place for a guy like me who wants to get things done,” Mr. Hickenlooper said in a video posted on his campaign website Thursday morning. “But this is no time to walk away from the table.”

Mr. Hickenlooper, who is also a former Denver mayor, brewpub owner and geologist, will seek to challenge Senator Cory Gardner in a contest that Democrats view as all but necessary to win if they have any hope of flipping the Senate in 2020.

While Mr. Hickenlooper’s laid-back style and moderate politics never caught on in the presidential race, he remains popular in Colorado, a battleground state. A recent poll showed Mr. Hickenlooper with more than a 50-point lead over the current leading Democrats in the race for the party’s nomination for the Senate seat; another poll showed him ahead of Mr. Gardner by 13 percentage points in a head-to-head matchup.

This article will be updated.