On Monday, the popular (and term-limited) Montana governor Steve Bullock is running for Senate this fall in a bid to unseat Republican Sen. Steve Daines:
I've always fought for the people of Montana. Together, we expanded health care, protected public lands, banned dark money in politics & more. Now I'm taking that fight to the US Senate. Let’s make Washington work more like Montana. Join us: https://t.co/vyPPioB0tJ #MTSen #MTpol pic.twitter.com/6VuCKsNTeW
— Steve Bullock (@stevebullockmt) March 9, 2020
Bullock had met with both former President Barack Obama and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in recent weeks, which perhaps contributed to his decision to run.
Daines is only a one-term incumbent and Bullock enjoys high favorability numbers in the state, which suggests this could be a competitive race in the fall:
More than half (54 percent) of Montanans felt the state is headed in the right direction while just 29 percent believe it is headed in the wrong direction. A majority of all political affiliations were optimistic with 64 percent of Democrats, 51 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of independents expressing the opinion the state was headed in the right direction.
For Democrats hoping to pick up a Senate majority this fall, Bullock’s decision is especially significant. The Democrats likely need to win five seats from the Republicans this fall as they currently have 46 seats and likely will lose Doug Jones’s Alabama seat this November. With Bullock’s decision to join the race, Democrats may now be thinking that Montana joins North Carolina, Maine, Colorado, and Arizona as being seats they might be able to flip this fall. Given that all the other Democrats up for reelection are likely safe, those five states would be enough to give the Democrats 50 seats and, assuming a Biden victory, control of both chambers of congress and the White House.