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Tipsheet

Bullock Pledges to Take No PAC Money After Being Bolstered by Corporate Dollars During Gubernatorial Races

AP Photo/Matt Volz

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who is currently vying for a Senate seat in November, unveiled his first television ad since announcing his bid for the upper chamber in early March. Montana’s chief executive, who was once vehemently opposed to running for Senate, promises that he will not “answer to party bosses.” 

Bullock’s promise to be independent is undermined by the fact that his Senate bid is much attributed to pleas from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and former President Obama, as Democrats hope to take back the majority in the Senate. 

During his short-lived presidential run, Bullock insisted that he would “never” run for Senate and that he had “no intention” of running for anything other than the White House. Bullock even claimed that being a senator “never got him excited.” In light of pressure from establishment Democrats, Bullock reversed his rhetoric and launched a bid against GOP incumbent Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT). 

Bullock’s first ad also vows that the Senate hopeful will not take “a dime of corporate PAC money,” but Bullock enjoyed an abundance of donations from corporate PACs during his runs for governor, totaling $162,000. Just before his re-election bid in 2016, a federal court struck down Montana’s campaign finance law, citing restrictions on free speech; despite the overturn, Bullock vowed to abide by the previous, lower limit for campaign donations, but eventually walked back that promise. Bullock took donations of up to $10,610, as the new threshold allowed, after the court's ruling, rather than the original $1,320 limit for gubernatorial races.

With Bullock as Sen. Schumer’s hand-picked candidate, Montana’s Senate contest is a target of Democrats. The Cook Political Report rates the race as “lean Republican.”

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