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Hickenlooper, Bennet seem like twins, but may go different directions in Washington

Eric Larsen
Fort Collins Coloradoan

In the U.S. Senate, Colorado is now represented by two politicians whose biographies are so similar they look identical at first glance.

U.S. Sen.-elect John Hickenlooper and Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet both graduated from Wesleyan University, a small liberal arts school in Connecticut. Both are East Coast transplants who made millions in business in Colorado before turning to politics. 

Both men are moderate, pragmatic Democrats from Denver who have lived charmed political lives. They even worked together: Bennet helped get Hickenlooper elected Denver mayor in 2003, and then went to work as his chief of staff. 

Both were finalists for top jobs in Democratic administrations in Washington, and both waged long-shot bids for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. 

“I think that relationship will be interesting,” said Alan Salazar, a longtime Democratic strategist who knows both men well. “Sen. Bennet will be the senior member of the delegation, and I think John will have some fun with that.”

“I think it will be a unique bond, one that we have never seen,” he added.

Another similarity: Both Hickenlooper and Bennet declined requests for interviews.

Bennet and Hickenlooper differ on style and substance

But spend any time with Hickenlooper, 68, and Bennet, 55, or talk to their closest associates and the differences between them — in personality, style and substance — become clear. 

This story is being published partially at Coloradoan.com and in full in Coloradoan print editions through an agreement with the Colorado Sun. Read the full story online at coloradosun.com.