Montana Gov. Steve Bullock just joined the ranks of Democratic leaders vying for the White House. He announced on Tuesday that he’s running for president, appealing to primary voters as a Democrat elected twice in a largely Republican state. He joins a loaded primary field of nearly two dozen candidates.
Bullock’s message is focused on campaign finance, touting Montana’s election laws that he has championed as attorney general and governor, promising to “take our democracy back.”
“I believe in an America where every child has a fair shot to do better than their parents. But we all know that kind of opportunity no longer exists for most people; for far too many, it never has,” Bullock says in his announcement video. “We need to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 and defeat the corrupt system that lets campaign money drown out the people’s voice, so we can finally make good on the promise of a fair shot for everyone.”
The governor was first elected in 2012, and he was reelected in 2016 in Montana at the same time that President Trump carried the state by over 20 points.
The 53-year-old Democrat has been known to want a chance to run. He visited the Iowa State Fair last year and stumped in New Hampshire. In April, he started hiring staff for his political action committee. But his low national profile will be a challenge in a campaign with so many candidates.
Bullock’s more moderate positions could be problematic in a party that’s been moving more toward the left, but he has adopted some liberal stances recently, including support for an assault weapons ban. Bullock had to address controversy in February, after it was revealed that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had fired his former chief of staff, who previously worked for Bullock at the Democratic Governors Association, over sexual harassment allegations. Bullock wrote a post online acknowledging that as chair of the DGA he had dismissed the staffer, Kevin O’Brien, after a harassment complaint from another staffer. He apologized for not warning de Blasio when he hired O’Brien just weeks later.
“I was wrong and naive to think I did enough. I should have done more to ensure future employers would learn of his behavior,” Bullock wrote. “I also know these realizations come too late for the two women in New York City. For that, I’m deeply sorry.”