AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
- Governor Steve Bullock of Montana announced he’s running for president on May 14, the 22nd Democrat to join the 2020 presidential primary field.
- Bullock, 52, has served as governor of Montana since 2012, re-elected to a second term in 2016. Previously, he was the state’s attorney general.
- In recent weeks, Bullock has publicly teased a presidential bid and touted his record of passing progressive legislation in a state President Donald Trump won in 2016.
In the months leading up to the 2020 race, Bullock has begun making inroads in competitive primary states, visiting Nevada and campaigning with Democratic congressional candidates in Iowa.
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Steve Bullock, the Democratic former governor of Montana, announced he’s running for a president on May 14th, the 22nd Democratic contender and the third governor to join the field.
Bullock, 52, spent much of his career in private legal practice in both Montana and Washington, DC. He a served a term as Montana’s attorney general before being elected as Montana’s governor in 2012 and was re-elected to a second term in 2016.
In a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday morning, Bullock highlighted his work passing bipartisan legislation to ban corporate money in Montana’s election as governor after losing a court challenge to the landmark Citizens United Supreme Court case based on Montana’s long-standing ban on corporate political contributions, with the Court eventually ruling 5-4 against Montana.
"I look for common ground to get things done," he said. "That’s how I was able to bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass one of the strongest campaign finance laws in the country."
Bullock enters the race as an underdog with low name recognition and a limited national profile, having spent most of his career in Montana. He will also have just five weeks to either reach 1% in three national polls or secure 65,000 unique donors to qualify for the Democratic debates in June.
Yet in the months leading up to the 2020 race, Bullock has begun making inroads in competitive primary states, visiting Nevada and campaigning with Democratic congressional candidates in Iowa in the fall of 2018.
And in recent weeks, Bullock has hired national and Iowa-based communications staff and begun pitching his case to national news outlets.
Bullock argues he brings unique strength to the table as a Democratic governor who was re-elected the same year Trump won his state by 20 points — and has since achieved progressive victories including expanding Medicaid and freezing university tuition in the spring 2019 Montana legislative session.
"I believe in an America where every child has a fair shot," he said in his announcement video. "But we all know that kind of opportunity no longer exists for most people. For some, it never has. That’s why we need to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 and defeat the corrupt system that lets campaign money drown out the people’s voice."
The Montana Democrat isn’t known to most Democracy primary voters yet — but believes his previous statewide victories in Montana have given him the tools to reach out to the conservative, rural voters he thinks a candidate like him could win over.
"You’ve got to show up," Bullock told the Des Moines Register about his campaign strategy in October.
"I don’t have the luxury of just going to places where the Democrats have traction in the polls. I have to show up to places and engage, give them a reason to be with you, not just against (something)," he said.
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