Hickenlooper, John 2Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper took to the west side of the state Capitol late yesterday afternoon to announce his run for governor to a throng of Democratic supporters.

“I don’t plan on compromising my independent streak,” he said (via The Denver Post). “My approach to a number of issues is probably different than a number of Democrats’.”

Hickenlooper says he learned about the state while working as a geologist in the 1980s. He lost his job when the oil industry faltered and then opened the Wynkoop brewpub downtown, when LoDo was known as Skid Row.

Hickenlooper’s number one priority if elected will be jobs, notes Westword.

Hick has become a star of the Democratic party, helping to bring the Democratic National Convention to Denver in 2008, winning global attention for the Mile High City. But he’s also been controversial, the Associated Press points out, infuriating Republicans, for example, for supporting a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.

National Democrats are seeking to maintain their 26-24 majority among governorships, in part because the winners will oversee the redrawing of congressional and legislative districts for the next decade.

Hickenlooper does not plan to abandon the post of mayor in order to campaign, and Westword Editor Patricia Calhoun points to a few reasons why that’s a good thing.

The Denver Business Journal does a nice job of rounding up reactions to Hickenlooper’s announcement, including this one from state GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams: “The face may change but the failed policies remain the same if Denver Mayor John ‘Hickenritter’ runs for governor. Hickenlooper is nothing more than a quirky version of Governor Bill Ritter.”