Former Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner Tuesday night in the first Senate pick-up for Democrats in their run to reclaim the upper chamber.
Fox projects that Dem John Hickenlooper will defeat GOP CO Sen Cory Gardner. First pickup of the night for Dems in their quest to win the Senate
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) November 4, 2020
Hickenlooper, 68, ousted Gardner, who was seen as the most vulnerable Republican incumbent this cycle. The former popular two-term governor had previously run in the crowded Democratic presidential primary before bowing out of the race to pursue a seat in the Senate, a position he had repeatedly claimed he was not “cut out” for.
Hickenlooper’s Tuesday night victory, called shortly after polls closed, marks the continued shift of once-competitive states trending blue. Gardner barely pulled off a win six years ago capturing the seat by just less than 2 percent in 2014, a good year for Republicans in which the GOP reclaimed the Senate majority.
Gardner’s loss leaves Democrats only needing to pick up two more seats to take back the majority in the upper chamber for the first time since Republicans captured it in 2014.
Other competitive states featuring Republican incumbents on defense include Maine, Arizona, Montana, Michigan, North Carolina, and Georgia, where the southern battleground presents two Senate seats held by Republicans up for grabs.