Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper secured a win in Colorado’s Democratic Senate primary on late Tuesday, despite an ethics complaint from his time as governor.

Hickenlooper defeated former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff 59.3% to 40.7%, with 92% of precincts reporting. He will face Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in November. Gardner is widely considered to be the most vulnerable GOP senator up for reelection.

The former governor ran an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, but was widely seen as the favorite in the Senate primary due to his name recognition and relative popularity.


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However, Gardner’s campaign is likely to capitalize on the ethics controversy Romanoff briefly brought up during his run.

The complaints, filed in 2018, claims Hickenlooper violated the state ban on public officals accepting gifts when he took a private flight to Connecticut and a limousine ride in Italy. Hickenlooper was held in contempt by the state ethics commission after he declined to appear at a scheduled hearing.

The commission later ruled that the two rides violated the state’s ethics rules and fined Hickenlooper $2,750.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee said after Hickenlooper’s victory that he will be “in for a very bumpy ride” through the general election.”

“Over the next few months, voters are going to learn what Hickenlooper has been hiding – about his disregard for the law, his misuse of taxpayer funds and all the illegal gifts and travel from his corporate sugar daddies,” Joanna Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the NRSC, said in a statement concerning the ethics violation.

Hickenlooper will need to get Romanoff’s supporters fully on board with his campaign before he can take Gardner down.

In a live-streamed announcement following his victory Tuesday, Hickenlooper urged Romanoff supporters “to bring the same passion and energy they brought to Andrew’s campaign to the fight ahead.”

“It’s going to take all of us together to beat Cory Gardner and bring about the change this country so desperately needs,” he said. I’ve never lost an election in this state and I don’t intend to lose this one. There’s far too much at stake.”

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