Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockKoch-backed group launches ad campaign to support four vulnerable GOP senators Overnight Energy: US Park Police say ‘tear gas’ statements were ‘mistake’ | Trump to reopen area off New England coast for fishing | Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues in battle to save seats MORE (D) clinched the Democratic nomination in his state’s Senate primary on Tuesday, defeating energy engineer and Navy veteran John Mues.
The governor was favored to win the primary due to his name recognition and popularity within the state. Bullock won his second term as governor in 2016, the same year President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE won Montana by 20 points in the general election.
He won easily, leading with 95 percent of the vote after 12 percent of precincts had reported, according to The Associated Press.
“Now, in the midst of this extraordinary crisis, Washington is more focused on shifting blame than seeking solutions. I’m running for the Senate to do away with partisan politics and do what is right for the American people. I’m running for the Senate to make Washington work more like Montana,” Bullock said in a statement.
Bullock, considered a big recruit for Democrats, entered the Senate race after dropping out of the 2020 presidential race.
A Montana State University survey released last month showed 70 percent of the state’s voters said they approved of Bullock’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Only 20 percent of voters said they disapproved.
Bullock will face first-term Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Koch-backed group launches ad campaign to support four vulnerable GOP senators OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior faces legal scrutiny for keeping controversial acting leaders in office | White House faces suit on order lifting endangered species protections | Lawmakers seek investigation of Park Police after clearing of protesters MORE (R-Mont.) in November. The Cook Political Report rates the general election Senate race as “lean Republican.”
However, some of the recent polling shows Bullock leading Daines. The Montana State University survey showed Bullock with 46 percent support in the state, while Daines garnered 39 percent support.
Bullock has raised $2.5 million over the past six weeks and has raised a total of $5.8 million. Daines raised $1.3 million in the same period, raising a total of $9.2 million during the campaign.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee took aim at Bullock in a statement late Tuesday, referring to his past 2020 presidential bid.
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“Steve Bullock’s political career is chock-full of suspect personal behavior and a penchant for covering up predatory actions by subordinates,” said NRSC spokesman Nathan Brand. “He’ll have the misfortune of suffering a second high profile defeat in less than a year when Montana voters re-elect Steve Daines this fall.”