Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who is exploring a presidential run in 2020, was in Georgia Saturday morning to listen to voters and help the Democratic Party of Georgia canvass ahead of this November’s midterm elections.
The term-limited Democrat spoke to about 45 volunteers at the DeKalb County Coordinated Campaign field office just outside of Atlanta before knocking on voters’ doors in Ellenwood.
Hickenlooper said he was in Georgia because of a conversation he had with gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams.
“I called her a couple of months ago, and was so impressed that this was a fresh voice, somebody – obviously very talented – who understood how the world works but also has a vision for Georgia,” Hickenlooper said in an interview.
They also share similar policy interests in health care. In 2014, Colorado expanded its Medicaid program, which now covers more than 1.4 million people. Abrams says her campaign plan to expand Medicaid in Georgia will cover an additional 500,000 Georgians and create more than 50,000 jobs.
Abrams’ opponent, Republican secretary of state Brian Kemp, is not in favor of expanding Medicaid, calling it too costly to implement. But has said he is open to a federal waiver program that would give Georgia flexibility with the Affordable Care Act to stifle rising insurance premiums, a policy that Abrams also supports.
Before participating in a canvassing role-play exercise with one of the volunteer coordinators, Hickenlooper talked to the crowd about Abrams’ history and vision for Georgia. After seeing members of advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in the crowd, he pivoted to gun safety.
The governor’s parting words before heading out to knock on doors for the Georgia Democrats urged the audience to action ahead of the Nov. 6 election, predicting the final margin in the Abrams-Kemp race would be less than 10,000 votes.
A campaign event in Georgia is not an isolated stop for Hickenlooper. His two-day swing started in central Florida, where he toured a brewery with Florida’s Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Chris King.
The Colorado Sun reports Hickenlooper also plans to travel to New York, California and Texas in the coming week.
When asked about his travel schedule, the Colorado governor said he was focusing on electing Democratic governors but also acknowledged that he “put his toe in the water” for a presidential run.
Earlier in the week, Hickenlooper formed Giddy Up, a federal leadership political action committee that will allow him to raise money for things like travel and supporting other candidates for office.
Hickenlooper is not the only higher-profile Democrat campaigning in Georgia. Next Thursday, the Abrams campaign confirmed that former Vice President Joe Biden will make a trip to the state.