A group of senior aides to John Hickenlooper‘s presidential campaign urged the former Colorado governor to end his bid for the Democratic nomination and run for Senate last month, multiple sources familiar with the discussion tell CNN.
The meeting happened shortly after the Democratic National Committee announced in May that it was increasing the qualification thresholds for the September and October primary debates.
A key pressure point was the fact that Hickenlooper only has 13,000 unique donors, the sources said, making it nearly impossible for him to reach the 130,000-donor threshold needed to qualify for the third and fourth debates.
One source added that Hickenlooper’s campaign raised just over $1 million in the second quarter of 2019 and could run out of money soon if no changes are made or if they governor’s candidacy doesn’t take off.
The meeting between senior aides and Hickenlooper was first reported by Politico.
Hickenlooper shook up his campaign on Monday, multiple sources told CNN, allowing his campaign manager, finance director and spokeswoman to leave as the former Colorado governor fails to gain traction in the expansive Democratic presidential primary field.
But a senior Democrat who spoke to the governor Monday night told CNN that Hickenlooper was not on the cusp of dropping out of the race.
“He’s staying in,” the senior Democrat said, adding that Hickenlooper will reassess after the second debate.
Hickenlooper has shown little interest in challenging Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado.
“It would be hard for me — and I am not saying I couldn’t do it and I am not saying my patriotic duty may compel me to do it — but my character, what activates me, motivates me is building teams and surrounding myself with really talented people, taking big bites out of major challenges and then doing them,” he said of a Senate run in January.
Asked at the time if he believes tackling those challenges would be harder in the Senate, Hickenlooper doesn’t hesitate.
“That’s my point. You are one of 100,” he said. “And my natural inclination is to go somewhere where I can create that team.”