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Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said on Tuesday that he was responding to a hypothetical question when he raised the possibility of granting clemency to the state’s longest-serving death row inmate should he lose his re-election bid in November. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said in a yet-to-be aired interview with CNN that he could consider commuting the death sentence of Nathan Dunlap, whose execution the governor indefinitely blocked last year, if Republicans make it a campaign issue. The governor told the CNN interviewer, “If (death penalty) becomes a political issue, in that context within a campaign, obviously there’s a period of time between the election and the end of the year where individuals can make decisions, such as a governor can. I could give … a full clemency.” Dunlap, 40, was set to be executed by lethal injection last year before Hickenlooper intervened, granting the convicted quadruple murderer an open-ended “temporary reprieve.”

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