WASHINGTON — Democrat Steve Bullock, the Montana governor who has insisted he won’t run for the Senate, is poised to do just that, according to a person familiar with his plans.
Bullock has long been a Democratic favorite and heavily wooed to take on Republican Sen. Steve Daines. Democrats are straining to win back the Senate and they see a Bullock matchup with Daines as key to that strategy. Daines is increasingly allied with President Donald Trump and got a shoutout from the president on Wednesday.
Bullock, who made an unsuccessful run in the crowded Democratic presidential primary, has until next week’s filing deadline Monday to formally announce his bid.
Bullock is in close discussions with his family as he makes the decision, according to the person close to the governor. This person confirmed the planning, as first reported by the New York Times, but was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Democrats have courted Bullock for months, even before dropped his presidential bid last fall. He reportedly met with former President Barack Obama during a trip to Washington, and the Senate’s Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, made a visit to the West last month for more talks.
But Bullock also is a dad with school-age children and had emphatically said in the past he would not be relocating to Washington for the Senate.
A matchup in the Mountain West state as part of this fall’s battle for the Senate would be potentially intense.
On Wednesday, Daines enjoyed a ripple of activity. In the morning, Trump tweeted his support for Daines, who met with the president last week at the White House.
“The great people of Montana can have no better VOICE than Senator @SteveDaines,” the president tweeted. He warned: “Whoever the Democrat nominee may be, please understand that I will be working hard with Steve all the way.”
Later, Daines and another Republican incumbent facing a tough reelection campaign, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, rolled out a public lands funding package important to Montanans.
The plan is notable because it provides funding for public lands that Trump has suggested cutting in past budgets. They said they have Trump’s backing for the funding.
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