WASHINGTON -- Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper sent out a fundraising email for his presidential campaign on Tuesday despite reports that he is weighing an end to his bid for the White House in order to run for a GOP-held Senate seat.
Before the Wing Ding dinner at the Iowa State Fair last Friday, Hickenlooper jumped into the passenger seat of Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet's car to talk about his political future, The New York Times reported.
In campaign emails and on the trail, Hickenlooper has not let on that he is considering dropping his presidential aspirations and challenging Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado in 2020, a key target of Senate Democrats in their bid to regain a chamber majority.
"We have a long 14 months ahead of us, but that's why we need to dig our heels in now -- to spread our vision and build our team," Hickenlooper said in his fundraising email on Tuesday, despite multiple media reports that he was expected to drop from the 2020 Democratic field imminently.
In February, Hickenlooper dismissed the possibility of running for Senate, indicating that the function of government he enjoys most is assembling teams to execute laws, not sitting down with a narrow set of negotiators to create them.
"I'm not cut out to be a senator," Hickenlooper said at the time. "Senators don't build teams. Senators sit and debate in small groups, which is important, right? But I'm not sure that's my -- I'm a doer. That's what gives me joy."
But he is not on pace to reach the 130,000-donor benchmark to qualify for the next presidential debates in Houston on Sept. 12 and 13 and his previous debate performances have not appeared to boost his polling numbers significantly.
Colorado Democrats in recent days have been publicly lobbying Hickenlooper to end his presidential campaign and challenge Gardner in the Senate race, where he would be the immediate front-runner in a Democratic primary field already 12 candidates deep.
A political action group that aims to elect scientists to political office, the 314 Action Fund, launched a fundraising and grassroots organization website on Tuesday with the domain name DraftHickForSenate.com.
Hickenlooper is a geologist by training.