“He is immediately a credible, strong candidate for United State Senate and he clearly puts that state in play.”
Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock dropped out of the presidential race in December. He said he would not run for the Senate but that changed Monday morning.
Bullock announced his campaign via a tweet. His move gives hope to the Democrats to win the majority in the upper chamber.
Bullock changed his mind about running after he met with President Barack Obama in Washington in February. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer traveled to Montana at the last-minute to beg Bullock to run.
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 challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Steve Daines. The Democrats only need to win four seats in order to take the majority if President Donald Trump wins in November.
However, the Republicans “are defending 23” seats in 2020. Democrats are defending only 12 seats, but nine of them are in states Trump won in 2016.
The Wall Street Journal reported that editor and publisher of Inside Elections Nathan Gonzales called Bullock’s entry a “game-changer” since he “brings a seat that was previously solid for Republicans onto the battlefield of competitive races.”
Republicans and Democrats both expressed confidence in their parties ability to win the seat in November:
“I’m still feeling confident,” said Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP’s campaign arm. “Steve Daines is a great fit for the state. He’s helped to sustain the longest period of economic prosperity and economic growth in American history, and he’s fighting hard for the people of the state.” Mr. Young said Mr. Bullock’s entry wouldn’t change the Republican campaign committee’s strategy. “We’re good,” he said.
But Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last cycle, said Mr. Bullock’s decision to run in Montana would expand the map for his party, making Montana a top-tier race alongside tough contests in Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina and Maine. “He is immediately a credible, strong candidate for United State Senate and he clearly puts that state in play,” Mr. Van Hollen said.
Daines “stockpiled more than $5 million in campaign cash in preparation for the possibility that” Bullock would run for the seat.
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester holds the other Montana seat. He barely won his re-election in 2018.
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