Election 2020 Hickenlooper

Democratic president candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at a town hall gathering at Keene State College, in Keene, N.H., on Saturday, May 4, 2019. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Colorado's John Hickenlooper is among 14 Democrats running for president who are descending on San Francisco this weekend to woo activists in the state that brands itself as the nation's most liberal.

Home state Sen. Kamala Harris, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also are among the candidates coming to court thousands of party faithful at the California Democratic Party's annual convention, a major draw for Golden State activists who get far fewer chances to interact with presidential hopefuls than their counterparts in traditional early-voting states.

The candidates are set to make speeches to delegates on Saturday and Sunday. 

Hickenlooper, a former Colorado governor and Denver mayor, is slated to speak to the convention Saturday afternoon. His campaign said he "will urge Democrats to distance themselves from socialism," a theme he sounded on national news shows earlier in the week.

"If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer," Hickenlooper planned to say, according to a speech excerpt provided by his campaign. "I was re-elected in a purple state in 2014 – one of the worst years for Democrats in a quarter of a century. I was one of only two Democrats to win a swing state that year. And, as governor, I worked with non-profits and business.  With Democrats and Republicans.  And, we achieved big progressive results."

Former Vice President Joe Biden is not scheduled to attend the gathering, citing a scheduling conflict. He's the only big-name contender skipping out on the gathering, which is a major stop for candidates this year because California moved up its primary to March 3, known as Super Tuesday.

The other candidates attending the gathering are New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; California Rep. Eric Swalwell; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro; and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.

The Associated Press and Colorado Politics contributed.

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