Montana Democrat Gov. Steve Bullock announced on Monday his last-minute effort to unseat Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) in a Democrat-led effort to back the Senate majority.
Bullock, who led a failed bid for the Democrat presidential nomination last year, said that he would fight against “dark money” and advocate for health care in the Senate.
I've always fought for the people of Montana. Together, we expanded health care, protected public lands, banned dark money in politics & more. Now I'm taking that fight to the US Senate. Let’s make Washington work more like Montana. Join us: https://t.co/vyPPioB0tJ #MTSen #MTpol pic.twitter.com/6VuCKsNTeW
— Steve Bullock (@stevebullockmt) March 9, 2020
Bullock will likely face off against Daines, a one-term senator who won his 2014 Senate campaign by double digits. The Montana Democrat will also have to consider that he will have to compete against President Donald Trump’s coattails. The president won Montana by roughly 20 points in the 2016 presidential election.
Shane Scanlon, Daines’s campaign manager, said in a statement on Monday that Daines has continued to better Montanans’ lives.
We’re going to win this race because Steve Daines is always on Montana’s side fighting for more high-paying jobs, against big government and defending Montanans’ way of life. From protecting our pocketbooks, veterans, public lands and Second Amendment rights, Daines always puts Montana first, and Montanans know they can always trust him to continue doing so when he’s reelected in November.
Bullock’s announcement follows after the Montana Democrat spent months denying that he would run for the Montana seat:
- Bullock said in December 2019, “I’ve said before, during, and after that, I’m not going to be running for Senate. I’ve made that clear, that’s just not what I want to do.”
- Bullock said in July 2019, “I would rule it out. And I have ruled it out.”
- Bullock said in May 2019, “You know, Rachel, this wasn’t an either/or. Like I was never going to run for the Senate…This is something that never really got me excited.”
- Bullock said in March 2019, “I’ve expressed all along [that] I just don’t have an interest in running for U.S. Senate,” Bullock said. “I think that my skill set and what I’ve done, I just wouldn’t enjoy it, so I’d ruled it out.”
- Bullock said in November 2018, “I’ve said earlier that really doesn’t interest me,’ Bullock said in an interview.”
- Bullock said in February 2018, “Candidly, I just don’t know if I would find being a senator that compelling.”
It appears that Bullock may have changed his mind about running for the Senate seat after prominent Democrats such as former President Barack Obama and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) lobbied for Bullock to run.
The Montana Republican Party ran an ad mocking Bullock’s about-face after Obama and Schumer pressured him into running against Daines:
National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Nathan Brand said in a statement on Monday that Bullock has supported the impeachment of Trump, gun control, and open borders. Brand said:
Daines, a first-term conservative, has established a close relationship with Trump, and Trump has praised Daines as a staunch conservative.
The great people of Montana can have no better VOICE than Senator @SteveDaines. He is doing an incredible job! Whoever the Democrat nominee may be, please understand that I will be working hard with Steve all the way, & last night I was 20 for 20 (per @GOPLeader).
Trump added, “WE NEED STEVE!”
The great people of Montana can have no better VOICE than Senator @SteveDaines. He is doing an incredible job! Whoever the Democrat nominee may be, please understand that I will be working hard with Steve all the way, & last night I was 20 for 20 (per @GOPLeader). WE NEED STEVE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020