Two-term Democratic Governor of Montana Steve Bullock is planning to oust freshman incumbent Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), despite previously meeting with establishment Democrats and publicly denying that he would run.
According to The New York Times, Bullock, who was a brief and ultimately unsuccessful presidential primary candidate last year, informed Democrats last week that he was finally considering a senate run. While Bullock has publicly declined to comment on his intentions, the news agency reports that – after they conducted multiple interviews with Democratic officials – Bullock appears “poised to reverse himself and run for the Senate.”
Democratic officials who spoke with the Times maintain that a significant factor in the governor’s decision has been the support of his family.
However, Bullock has long been coveted as a potential instrument for the Left to regain the senate majority from Republicans, and within the last month, Democratic establishment figures have been holding meetings with the governor, in a presumed effort to recruit the governor to the cause.
According to Politico, former President Obama had a private meeting with Bullock in Washington, D.C., in early February, after the governor traveled to the city for a National Governors Association meeting. After the news organization found out about the meeting, an advisor for Bullock said that the governor was still not planning on running.
“As he has said repeatedly, there will be a candidate for U.S. Senate in Montana against Steve Daines. It will not be Steve Bullock,” Matt McKenna, a longtime adviser for Bullock, told the news agency.
Later that month, senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also had a meeting with Bullock, and traveled all the way to Montana to do so, reports Politico.
As a Democratic leader in the senate, Schumer has previously held meetings with presumptive senate candidates shortly before they declare intentions to run for senate.
According to CNN, Schumer had a meeting with former Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO), who also briefly ran a failed presidential campaign, several weeks before Hickenlooper officially declared a run for senate.
While the Times dropped the report on Bullock’s intentions to run for senate, President Trump praised Daines for faithfully serving the people of Montana, and urged voters to re-elect the senator in November.
“The great people of Montana can have no better voice than Senator [Steve Daines]. 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, [and] last night I was 20 for 20 (per [Kevin McCarthy]). WE NEED STEVE,” tweeted the president.
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
According to Montana State University, Bullock and Daines were the two most popular politicians, among registered voters, in the state last year.