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Hickenlooper splashes cold water on speculation about 2020 presidential unity ticket with Kasich

Author: Ernest Luning - August 25, 2017 - Updated: August 26, 2017

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Gov. John Hickenlooper laughs as he answers a question from reporters at a press briefing on March 8, 2017, in his office at the state Capitol in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics file photo)Gov. John Hickenlooper laughs as he answers a question from reporters at a press briefing on March 8, 2017, in his office at the state Capitol in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics file photo)

Gov. John Hickenlooper appeared to dampen speculation he was considering joining an independent presidential ticket with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, calling it “funny that people expect a political marriage” when two politicians reach across the aisle to work together.

“Kasich is dapper & worldly, but knows nada about brewing beer,” Hickenlooper said on Twitter Friday afternoon. “Loving the attention on our bipartisan work … but no ulterior motive. Not a unity ticket, just working with a new friend on hard compromises.”

Hickenlooper was responding to reports by Axios and CNN that the governors have been mulling a 2020 presidential bid and plan to take aim at immigration and job-creation policy in addition to their ongoing appearances urging a bipartisan approach to health care reform.

“The idea of a joint ticket has been discussed, but not at an organizational or planning level,” an unnamed source told CNN. “What they are trying to show the country is that honorable people can disagree, but you can still problem solve together. It happens in businesses and it happens in families. Why can’t it happen in Washington?”

The pair have been urging President Trump and national Republicans for months to involve the nation’s governors in any attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system. They plan to release their health care recommendations to Congress as early as next week, the governors told Colorado Public Radio on Monday.

Axios reported the two are in discussions with “major media companies” about potentially starting a podcast or cable show “to continue cementing their brand.” Kasich has also urged Hickenlooper to visit New Hampshire, Axios co-founder Mike Allen wrote, noting, “Nothing subtle about any of this.”

Earlier this month, Hickenlooper downplayed a suggestion the duo might join together for a presidential run at a discussion in Denver sponsored by Politico, but he didn’t rule out the possibility.

Hickenlooper also gave what’s become almost a rote answer about his own presidential ambitions at the Politico talk, maintaining that he just has 18 months left in office — he’s term-limited after next year’s election — and doesn’t want to take his eye off some big goals remaining for his administration.

“The moment I start talking about what I’m going to do when I get done, the moment I start a PAC or anything,” he said, “not only do I get distracted, but my whole cabinet gets distracted. I’m not ruling anything out, but I am 100-percent focused. We’ve got a chance to do big stuff; let’s do it.”

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.


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