DENVER -- Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday ended his longshot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and said he may instead challenge one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans in 2020.

In a video message, Hickenlooper said he had heard from many in his state urging him to enter the Senate race.

"They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state," he said. "I intend to give that some serious thought."

Colorado's shift to the left could put Sen. Cory Gardner's seat in jeopardy for Republicans, and at least 10 Democrats have launched campaigns, setting up a competitive primary even before Hickenlooper, 67, makes a decision.

Hickenlooper became a leading figure in Colorado with his quirky, consensus-driven and unscripted approach to politics. He once jumped out of a plane to promote a ballot measure to increase state spending, and he won two statewide elections during years of Republican waves. He also was Denver's mayor.

He began his White House campaign in March, promising to unite the country. Instead, he quickly became a political punch line.

Founding a series of brewpubs made Hickenlooper a multimillionaire. But shortly before taking his first trip to Iowa as a presidential candidate, he balked on national television at calling himself a capitalist. Then, at a CNN town hall, he recounted how he once took his mother to see a pornographic movie. With the campaign struggling to raise money, his staff urged Hickenlooper to instead challenge Gardner. But Hickenlooper stayed in and hired another group of aides in a last-ditch effort to turn his campaign around.

He positioned himself as a common-sense candidate who couldn't be labeled a "socialist" by Republicans. But Hickenlooper couldn't make his voice heard in the crowded Democratic field of about two dozen candidates.

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