By Tim Leeds 

Bullock announces long-expected bid for presidency

More than 20 Dem candidates in presidential race


Montana's Democratic governor this morning made a long-expected announcement that he is running for U.S. president.

"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," Gov. Steve Bullock said this morning in a release announcing his candidacy. "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 Republican National Committee was quick to comment on his candidacy.

"Another day, another delusional Democrat running for president with no shot at winning," RNC Communications Director Michael Ahrens said in an email sent to the Havre Daily News. "Voters just rejected a liberal candidate who destroyed thousands of their official government emails, and Steve Bullock's fate won't be any different."

Many have speculated that the popular two-term governor would run. He has been making appearances at numerous political events in early primary states for the past year.

He enters a tightly packed field of Democratic presidential hopefuls challenging President Donald Trump in his announced bid for re-election.

The more-than 20 hopefuls in the Democratic primary include high-profile candidates like Vice President and Sen. Joe Biden, who also campaigned in Democratic primaries in for president in 1988 and 2008, Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.J, Kamala Harris, D-Calif, Amy Klobuachar, D-Minn., Cory Booker, D-N.K., Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, South Bend, Indiana, Democratic Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, former Democratic governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper, former mayor of San Antonio Julián Castro and several others.

Bullock served two terms as Montana attorney general before running for governor in 2012. He defeated former Republican Rep. Rick Hill in that race.

In his 2016 re-election, Bullock defeated Republican Greg Gianforte in the governor's race. Gianforte later won a special election then was re-elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and has said he's considering running for Montana governor next year.

Bullock succeeded popular but unpredictable Democratic Gov. Brian Schwietzer and has completed a 16-year reversal of 16 years of Republican governors before Schweitzer's two terms.

Bullock remains popular with voters in the state. A poll by Montana State University and the Montana Television Network earlier this year found 60 percent of Montana voters polled saying they strongly approve or approve of the job he's doing, with 54 percent of the voters saying the state is heading in the right direction.

Trump also remains popular in Montana, although his popularity has dropped. A Morning Consult survey from April shows his approval at 50 percent compared to 47 percent disapproval, up from February when it was tied 48-48. But his approval is down 21 percent since he took office and 22 points from his Montana high of 62 percent approval in April 2017.

Real Clear Politics' poll average has Trump with a 44.9 percent approval and 51.8 percent disapproval nationwide.

Bullock has listed the fact that he won the Montana gubernatorial race in 2016 with 50.25 percent of the vote to Gianforte's 46.36 percent and Libertarian Ted Dunlap's 3.4 percent in an election where Donald Trump won the presidential election by 20 points as making him a strong candidate.

He also touts many of his high-priority items being passed this year in a Legislature where the Republicans control both the House and Senate.

Bullock listed passing continued Medicaid expansion, investment in education, environmental protection and regulation of "dark money" in elections as some of his progressive victories this year.

He also has cited the Legislature passing major infrastructure bills including a bonding bill for the first time in several sessions as one of his victories.

He faces strong challengers in the Democratic primary. The latest poll on Real Clear Politics, conducted by Morning Consult, shows Biden with a 20-point lead at 39 percent, with Sanders at 19, Warren 8, Harris 8, Buttigieg 6, O'Rourke 5, Booker 3, and Klobuchar 2.


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