Why Hickenlooper sticks with Hillary Clinton when Bernie Sanders won Colorado

DENVER — Colorado’s Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, did not pick the winning candidate in his home state’s caucuses by a long shot. He thought Hillary Clinton would eek out a close win.

But he was wrong. Supporters for Bernie Sanders swarmed the March 1 caucuses and overtook Clinton backers by a whopping 19 points.

Despite overwhelming support, Sanders didn’t necessarily win the majority of Colorado delegates. Because of the way the Democratic Party’s rules work, even though Sanders was the clear choice of Democratic caucus-goers, Clinton could tie him when it comes to the state’s delegate count.

As governor, Hickenlooper is a superdelegate, which means he’ll have a weighted vote for Clinton at his party’s July 15 national convention in Philadelphia. Sanders supporters say he should cast that vote in line with the majority of his party’s caucus-goers in Colorado.

Asked during a media availability today if he has been lobbied by Sanders supporters like other superdelegates who support Clinton have reported, Hickenlooper said he has.

Related: Superdelegate Jared Polis orders take out. He’s lobbied: ‘Feel the Bern.’ 

The governor has heard the criticisms of the superdelegate process, but he ultimately defends it.

“This is a system that was designed long before … this race took the shape that it’s taken,” he said.

Hickenlooper continued:

The idea was that certain people who generally are people who hold elected office, who have been part of the continuity of the Party, should have a voice in addition to everyone voting. And that’s the way the system was designed with everyone’s participation. Everyone signed off on it. So it would be really difficult to come back and change the rules. Now, that being said, do I feel an obligation to follow the will of the voters?

Then he answered a question everyone feeling the Bern wants to know: Why support Clinton when so many more of his fellow Colorado Democrats backed Sanders at the caucuses?

“I think my obligation is to the people of Colorado and to the people of the United States to do what I think is best for this state and for this country,” Hickenlooper said.

Despite a record number of Democrats attending the March 1 caucuses this year, the governor said they were a “very, very slim percentage of Democrats … a very slim number of people.”

But, he said, he still does take the votes Sanders earned from caucus-goers in his home state into account.

“I mean this sincerely,” he said. “Every time someone comes up to me and says I think you really should consider this issue, or this aspect of Senator Sanders, I try to listen, because more often than not I learn something I didn’t know, and over time sometimes the things you hear change your opinion of an issue or a policy.”

Hickenlooper has in recent months seen his name mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick should Clinton win her party’s nomination and the general election in the fall. Asked today if he planned to broach the topic of a potential opportunity in Washington, DC with Clinton in the near future— she’ll be in Colorado in early April— he said no.

“I’m not pushing for that, or even really interested in it,” he said, adding later, “I think that ship’s probably sailed.”

He then floated the idea of former Department of Interior Secretary and ex-Colorado U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar as a potential vice presidential choice.

And what about a potential ambassador role?

“I don’t want to be ambassador to anywhere, trust me,” the governor said. “That will not happen.”


  1. Governor Hickenlooper has disappointed me with his pro-business,anti-environment policies. His indifference to the people’s voice as a super-delegate is just the last nail in his coffin, as far as I’m concerned. Too bad he’s term-limited. I can say if he ever runs for another elective office in Colorado he’s unlikely to get my vote – and I vote in every election.

    Please reconsider, Governor. At least, if Senator Sanders wins the national pledged delegate race, please change your vote at that time.

  2. “I think my obligation is to the people of Colorado and to the people of the United States to do what I think is best for this state and for this country,” Gov. Hickenloopr

    The critical flaw in Gov. Hickenlooper’s thinking is that he, with typical elected official arrogance, assumes that HE knows best what is good for the people. The last time I checked this is a representative form of government not a dictatorship. Governor Hickenlooper appears to consistently forget or ignore this basic principle. It would appear that most of the entrenched and establish politicians in this country, regardless of their party, are not hearing the ever louder message that we the people are fed up w/the way the current system is being managed by and for the entrenched elected officials and Capitalists. Whether it is represented in the Republican support for Donald Trump or the increasing Democratic support for Bernie Sanders, the message is the same. In the case of Govenor Hickenlooper’s refusal to hear and acquiesce to the will of the people of Colorado and support the Democratic candidate that they overwhelmingly support and by casting his superdelegate votes for Hillary Clinton he is emblematic of the problem. Which part of “we support Bernie” doesn’t he understand ? It is not about “the party,” it is not about “the process,” it is not about “the rules,” and it certainly is not about Governor Hickenlooper………it is about the people, it is about us. Governor Hickenlooper has obviously forgotten this.

  3. I was listening to Colorado Matters Ryan Warner interviewing the Governor, and was shocked when I heard his statement about voting for HRC. He said something to the effect about “…being elected by the people of Colorado, who will trust me to make the right decision…”. Not the exact words, since I heard it a week ago; but the Governor moved down a couple of notches in terms of my respect for him. It had already been dinged by his constant support for oil and gas drilling in municipalities that don’t support it.

  4. Sanders is a fake Democrat, offering voters FREE candy with NO way to deliver, and USING Democratic resources while dissing the party.
    I’m with HER – the REAL Democrat.

Comments are closed.