Bachelor star Ben Higgins returns to TV, sounds ready to make HD 4 run

Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell

The Bachelor is poised to become The Candidate, and he’ll have his own prime time television show about his new role, too.

“I have some exciting news to share. It represents a unique opportunity for spreading our message of less government and more personal freedom to even more people,” North Denver Republican Benjamin Higgins, 28, star of the most recent season of ABC’s wildly popular dating show, announced in an email sent to about a dozen Denver Republican officials late Tuesday.

Higgins has been weighing a challenge to House Speaker Pro Tem Dan Pabon, D-Denver, in House District 4, but sounded all but certain he’ll take the plunge in his email, which was obtained by The Colorado Statesman.

The new show will be called “Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After,” and is scheduled to air on ABC’s Freeform network in the fall. It will depict the life that Higgins and his fiancée Lauren Bushnell, 26, are making in Denver. Buchnell accepted his proposal in the season finale of The Bachelor, which aired in March.

Details about the couple’s new show were first reported Wednesday morning by US Weekly.

“I want you to hear it from me first,” Higgins wrote. “And I want you to know something else: this opportunity in no way lessens my sincere interest in seeking the HD4 seat and replacing Dan Pabon. Nor would it interfere with my commitment to win this seat for our party in November.”

The reality TV series — “unscripted show” in the parlance of such things — is set to start filming in Denver this summer, and it could feature plenty of politicking.

“In fact, this new TV program would provide the chance for me to talk directly to an expanded number of HD4 residents, rather than face the same obstacle experienced by most candidates — having their message ignored by the news media,” Higgins wrote.

The couple were in Chicago, where he is set to appear at a Cubs game on Wednesday, fulfilling what he termed his “childhood dream of throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field.” Higgins and Bushnell were also on the cover of People magazine this spring, smiling at millions of Americans and likely bypassing the blasé media that ignores most first-time candidates for local races.

“In fact, it will also enable us to win new recruits to the cause we’re fighting for, both here and across our state,” Higgins wrote. “Colorado is my home by choice, and I plan on working and enjoying life here for many years to come. I want to make the most of this unique chance to expand our base and make a positive impact in Colorado.

“Most people have to balance the possibility of running for office with their day job. For some, that might be running a small business or a law firm, but for me, I’m blessed to have the opportunity to appear on television. My expectation is that this opportunity will give us one more way to promote empowering people through personal freedom.”

The Statesman was first to report that Higgins was considering a bid in the heavily Democratic seat. If he decides to run, the current Republican pick for the nomination, Willie Pinkston, has said he’ll step aside and let a vacancy committee name Higgins.

While HD 4 counts as the third-highest performing Democratic House district in the state — behind only Park Hill’s House District 8 and Boulder’s House District 10 — Pabon could face a steeper climb to reelection this year following his DUI arrest on St. Patrick’s Day on the outskirts of downtown Denver.

A leading Democrat told The Statesman the party takes a potential Higgins run seriously and would welcome the chance to highlight the differences between the visions offered by the two candidates.

A GOP insider said Higgins would likely make a decision after the June 28 primary, and that he might not be the full-fledged nominee until late July.

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