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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bullock Again Dismisses Senate Run, Says There's More To Do As Governor

Former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.
Corin Cates-Carney
Montana Public Radio
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

Gov. Steve Bullock says he’s not sure what’s next for him now that he’s withdrawn from the presidential race. But he’s definitely not running for the U.S. Senate.

Bullock met with the state Capitol press corps for the first time Wednesday since dropping out of his long-shot bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Bullock’s announcement ending his campaign prompted renewed calls from within his own party for the two-term governor to challenge U.S. Senate incumbent Republican Steve Daines in 2020.

Nationally, Democrats would need to gain four seats in the election next year to outright control the Senate. Some Democrats see Bullock as the best candidate to potentially pick up one of those seats in Montana.

Bullock says the end to his presidential campaign does not mean he’ll run for the Senate.

“I’ve said it before. I’ve said it during. I said it when I got out. So yeah, I’m not running for Senate," he says.

Bullock says his decision not to run for the Senate is personal and he did not elaborate. In previous interviews Bullock said his experience is as an executive, not as a legislator.

If one of the remaining Democratic presidential candidates is able to beat Trump in the 2020 election, Bullock says he’d be open to a Cabinet position.

“If a president-elect called, you’d have to take the call. But right now ... I still get to do this job for a year, and there’s still a lot more to do,” he says.

Bullock says that includes continuing the work of recently established government councils on grizzly bear management, climate and forest land policy. He also says the state has work to do on its new Medicaid expansion program, which could soon include work requirements if approved by the federal government.

Bullock is entering his final term as governor and can’t seek reelection. As for what comes next?

“After I’m done being governor? I have no idea,” he says.

Bullock says he’s glad he ran for president even though it didn’t turn out how he’d hoped.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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