Montana Gov. Steve Bullock Is Running For Senate

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Monday he will challenge GOP Sen. Steve Daines’ reelection, a major boost for Democrats hoping to seize control of the Senate in November. 

Bullock’s decision came after months of insisting he would not run, and on the last possible day to file to enter the race. Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), had relentlessly worked to convince Bullock to run, peppering him with phone calls and enlisting former President Barack Obama and major labor unions in the effort.

Bullock, a popular second-term governor who quit the 2020 presidential race in December, won reelection in Montana with a majority of the vote in 2016, even as President Donald Trump won the state by 20 percentage points. Senate Democrats largely saw him as the party’s best, if not only hope of defeating Daines.

Republicans have long viewed Bullock as a threat, and a super PAC controlled by allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) aired ads attacking him in the state even while he was still running for president.

During his presidential bid, Bullock was dismissive of a position in the Senate, arguing his skills were better suited for the executive branch. He struggled to gain any sort of traction in the crowded Democratic field, barely registering in national polls, raising little money and only qualifying for a single debate. 

In the run-up to his presidential bid, Bullock adopted left-leaning positions on gun control, calling for an assault weapons ban. Republicans are likely to attack his stance in a state that has the sixth-highest rate of gun ownership in the country. 

Democrats need to win at least three Senate seats to oust McConnell from the majority leader’s office. The party has long been confident about the chances of former Gov. John Hickenlooper to defeat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado, and former astronaut Mark Kelly to oust Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona. But the likelihood Democratic Alabama Sen. Doug Jones may lose his seat meant the party needed to find additional opportunities.

Some opportunities have appeared: Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon appears prepared to give the once-beloved GOP Sen. Susan Collins a tough race, and Democrats are optimistic about businesswoman Theresa Greenfield’s ability to challenge Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa. 

Republicans have long viewed Bullock as a threat, and a super PAC controlled by allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) aired ads attacking him in the state even while he was still running for president.

During his presidential bid, Bullock was dismissive of a position in the Senate, arguing his skills were better suited for the executive branch. He struggled to gain any sort of traction in the crowded Democratic field, barely registering in national polls, raising little money and only qualifying for a single debate. 

In the run-up to his presidential bid, Bullock adopted left-leaning positions on gun control, calling for an assault weapons ban. Republicans are likely to attack his stance in a state that has the sixth-highest rate of gun ownership in the country. 

Democrats need to win at least three Senate seats to oust McConnell from the majority leader’s office. The party has long been confident about the chances of former Gov. John Hickenlooper to defeat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado, and former astronaut Mark Kelly to oust Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona. But the likelihood Democratic Alabama Sen. Doug Jones may lose his seat meant the party needed to find additional opportunities.

Some opportunities have appeared: Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon appears prepared to give the once-beloved GOP Sen. Susan Collins a tough race, and Democrats are optimistic about businesswoman Theresa Greenfield’s ability to challenge Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa. 


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