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.
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.
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.”