Gov. Steve Bullock: 7 things you need to know
By Roey Hadar
Gwen Ifill Fellow
Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.) is running for president, after becoming the 23rd candidate in the Democratic presidential race on May 14.
The 53-year-old Montana governor is in his second term, having won reelection in 2016 in a state Donald Trump won by over 20 points.
Here are seven things you need to know about Bullock.
- He has a track record of bipartisanship. Bullock, who is well regarded by many Republicans in the Montana state legislature’s majority, has been able to work to secure bipartisan support even for progressive proposals like expanding Medicaid and campaign finance reform.
- Campaign finance has become Bullock’s signature issue. As governor, Bullock spearheaded passage of Montana’s “Disclose Act,” which requires additional financial disclosures for political action committees seeking to spend money in elections. Bullock also signed an executive order applying similar rules to candidates for state government contracts and has backed proposed legislation to outlaw foreign campaign spending.
- Bullock is one of just three Democrats who won their governor’s races in 2016 in states Donald Trump carried. Bullock has high approval ratings in Montana and won reelection in 2016 by four points in a state Trump won by 20 points. In visits to early presidential primary states before announcing his run, Bullock touted his ability to win as a Democrat in a red state.
- He has been active on immigration issues. Bullock supported allowing Syrian refugees into Montana and joined ten other governors in asking Congress to allow DACA recipients to stay in the U.S. He also refused to deploy Montana National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency.
- He chairs the National Governors Association. The nonpartisan organization rotates its chair between parties and helps link state governments and the federal government on public policy. As chairman, Bullock has made his primary project one relating to conducting research on labor trends and workforce development.
- Family tragedy shaped his view on guns. His nephew died in a school shooting a few weeks before Bullock graduated from Columbia Law School, making him a relatively early proponent of gun control in Montana. He said in an August 2018 he would support an assault weapons ban if he became president, a reversal on his stance during his 2016 reelection.
- Bullock expressed regret over his handling of a former staffer accused of sexual harassment. In a Medium post from February, Bullock said he is “committed to doing better” after firing a former longtime staffer of his who allegedly sexually harassed a colleague. The staffer was fired from another job with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, also for alleged harassment, leading Bullock to feel “wrong and naïve” about not doing enough to make de Blasio’s office aware of the behavior.