Now that he’s sailed off into the sunset with his beloved Lauren Bushnell (“Lauren B.”), last season’s Bachelor Ben Higgins has to find something to do with his time. So why not consider launching a bid for a spot in the Colorado State legislature?
Were he to run, Higgins, a 28-year-old software consultant, would—you guessed it—run as a Republican, for the State House of Representatives in Colorado’s 4th District, which is on the northwest side of Denver. That race is, as these things go, a mildly dramatic one: Higgins would be up against attorney Dan Pabon, current Speaker Pro Tempore and a Democrat, who was arrested for DUI on St. Patrick’s Day. The arrest happened following a work event for the House’s “beer caucus,” of which he is the captain; previously, Pabon had, according to Denver’s local ABC news affiliate, “sponsored legislation that requires convicted drunk drivers to go before a DUI Victim Impact Panel.” He reportedly “sobbed” during his apology to his coworkers at the State House. The 4th is heavily Democratic, and Pabon won with 80 percent of the vote in 2012.
In his reelection bid, Pabon is going up against Willie Pinkston, who says he would happily step aside if Higgins ran. From The Colorado Independent:
“I definitely plan on stepping aside,” Pinkston said in an interview with The Independent about what he’d do if Higgins decides to get in the race. “I’d be happy to.”
Pinkston, who runs a 17th Street insurance firm, says he met with “The Bachelor” star and was impressed. He called him “likely the only other Republican who can win” in the urban Denver district that leans heavily Democratic.
“He’s got name recognition … we’d love to support him since he wants to run and is capable,” Pinkston says.
The news was first reported by The Colorado Statesman last week via a leaked email from Pinkston, at which point it was still a secret. The Statesman wrote that Higgins had “been meeting GOP power brokers in the district this week, accompanied by political consultant Dustin Olson, founder of Olson Strategies.” Higgins has now launched a website, Ben Higgins for Colorado, and says he’s “explor[ing] his opportunities.”
Avid Bachelor fans and/or listeners of Bachelor Party, the Ringer podcast hosted by Juliet Litman, will not be surprised by these developments. In a January episode in which Higgins was a guest, Litman (at about 26 minutes into the interview) tells him he should run for office, and he seems genuinely surprised. (Of course, if he’s a good politician, he should be good at seeming that way.)
Litman: When you’re ready, I think that you should run for public office in the state of Indiana, or Colorado. I just think that you would win. I’m fairly certain you would win.
Higgins: Do you really think that?
Litman: Yeah I do. I really think that you have the composure to be a politician.
Higgins: Alright. Well, when I do, can we make the announcement—well I should say, if I do, I haven’t really ever thought about that—but if I do, can we make the announcement on your podcast?
Litman: 100%. I can’t wait.
Higgins: Perfect. Sounds good.
“I think I just freaked out Ben by suggesting he run for office,” Litman adds when he’s off the phone.
During his season, Ben was seen as the ultimate good guy, who spoke about his faith in God and his love for his family in Indiana, and has remained so even after he told two women he loved them. Unlike most former stars/many former contestants on the show, he’s kept a low profile since The Bachelor wrapped and his press duties lifted (though rumors about the status of his relationship with his fiancé Lauren have lingered, as they always do.) Though most former Bachelors stay in entertainment, Higgins is not the first to explore political life in some capacity: his predecessor, Chris Soules, was seen hobnobbing with Republican candidates for president in Iowa last summer.
“Whatever lies ahead, love, grace, and hope are ideals that guide my life. I will take them with me into my next adventure,” Higgins said in a statement. “Lauren and I aren’t sure yet what that will be, but in terms of representing House District 4, Willie Pinkston is an amazing person and any decision I make regarding entering the race will be based on what is best for Willie, his family and for Lauren and me.”
The primary is June 28. According to Colorado native and Deadspin News Editor Tom Ley, “Sloan’s Lake is a very average suburban neighborhood, probably full of lots of people who would vote for him.” Do you know more about Higgins or this race? Get in touch.
Image via ABC.