The 2020 Democrats: Steve Bullock

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Posted: May 17, 2019 1:45 PM
The 2020 Democrats: Steve Bullock

Source: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

*See our full list of 2020 Democrats here*

Quick Facts

Who: Steve Bullock

State: Montana

Current position: Governor of Montana

Campaign Website: https://stevebullock.com/

Background: "Who the heck is Steve Bullock?" asks the Montana governor's 2020 presidential campaign website. Bullock was born in Missoula, Montana and raised in Helena, the state's capital. After graduating high school in 1984, he attended Claremont McKenna College for his undergraduate degree and went on to attend Columbia Law School in New York where he graduated with honors. 

Bullock worked under former Montana Secretary of State Mike Cooney and worked for four years in Montana's Department of Justice under former Attorney General Joe Mazurek. In 2000, Bullock ran to become the state's next attorney general but lost the Democratic nomination to Mike McGrath. From 2001 to 2004, following his political loss, Bullock practiced law in Washington. D.C. and taught at George Washington University as an adjunct professor.

Bullock moved back to Helena in 2004 and four years later during the 2008 election successfully ran to become Montana's next attorney general. In 2011, Bullock announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination for governor, and in November 2012 Montanans elected him to be the state's 24th governor.

Bullock is a father of three, and according to his Twitter bio, a runner and lover of dive bars. He's also the only 2020 Democratic candidate running to win in a state that Donald Trump won in 2016.

2020 Campaign & Endorsements   

  • Date Announced: May 14, 2019

  • Fundraising: $1 million 24 hours after launching his presidential campaign 

  • Campaign Leadership: Jenn Ridder

  • Key Endorsements: Iowa Attorney General Thomas John Miller

Political Positions 

  • Healthcare: As the governor of Montana, Bullock signed legislation that expanded Medicaid. He has opposed GOP healthcare policies that have aimed to repeal Obamacare and has tweeted that "access to basic healthcare," one of "our fundamental rights as Americans," is "at stake."
  • Immigration: In February 2019, Bullock tweeted that events along the U.S.-Mexico border didn't constitute a national emergency and he refused to send National Guard troops to assist in stemming the flow of illegal immigration. Bullock, along with 11 governors, signed a letter to Congress asking them to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
  • Environment: Bullock says that climate change is real and a threat to every American. He also criticized President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Before the Trump administration revoked former President Obama's Clean Power Plan, according to PBS, Bullock tried to comply with the initiative by trying to reduce power plant emissions but didn't support the policy entirely.
  • Economy: Governor Bullock is an opponent of tariffs. He has stated that they are "ineffective, hurting our economy, and affecting the lives of American farmers." Bullock opposes President Trump's trade war. Bullock has also been critical of the GOP tax bill, saying that the law was for the GOP's "corporate friends and millionaire donors."
  • Criminal Justice: In 2017, Bullock signed ten bills to reform Montana's criminal justice system.
  • Gun Control: Bullock is a gun control proponent. Following the Parkland mass shooting in February 2018, Bullock tweeted that "thoughts and prayers aren't solutions." Bullock supports a ban on all semiautomatic firearms but said he wasn't looking to take firearms from hunters and law-abiding gun owners. Bullock also wrote an op-ed that endorsed universal background checks. He's also a proponent of "red flag laws." As Politico notes, these are stronger positions than the ones he held during his 2016 re-election campaign.
  • Abortion: Bullock is a pro-choice Democrat. In response to Alabama's latest pro-life legislation, Bullock tweeted that "Alabama is trying to take their state and our country back almost 45 years." The governor also vetoed the Montana Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which "requires that babies who survive abortions be provided with the same medical care as any other infant born at that stage of development."

Criticism/Controversies

  • Name Recognition: As Bullock's campaign website asks, "Who the heck is Steve Bullock?" While the Democratic candidate may be known in Big Sky Country, he's not well known across the nation.
  • Accomplishments? What accomplishments?: Despite serving as Montana's governor for the last eight years, when asked to name an accomplishment that he was proud of, Governor Bullock froze like a Montana deer in the headlights. 

This piece is part of our Election 2020 series. See below for more information on the most talked about Democrats challenging President Trump.

Who Is Joe Biden?

Who Is Bernie Sanders?

Who Is Elizabeth Warren?

Who Is Pete Buttigieg?

Who Is Beto O’Rourke?

Who Is Kamala Harris?

Who Is Cory Booker?

Who Is Eric Swalwell?

Who Is Amy Klobuchar?

Who Is Kirsten Gillibrand?