Bullock 2020

Connor Casne-Jones, Head Writer


Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced on May 14th, 2019 that he would be running for president in 2020. Bullock is the 22nd democratic candidate to enter the 2020 presidential race. Bullock believes that he can make campaign finance reform a signature issue and work with Republicans. Governor Bullock, was re-elected in 2016 despite Montanas conservative political leanings. In 2016 Trump took Montana by 20 points, so Steve will be fighting an uphill battle even in his home state.


Bullock is a born and raised Montanan; he was born in Missoula but raised in Helena. He graduated from Helena High in 1984 and then furthered his education at Claremont McKenna College before pursuing a degree in law at Columbia Law School. In 2000 Bullock first tried his hand at political office, unfortunately for Bullock, he lost in the democratic primary for Montana Attorney general. Bullock then practiced law privately before eventually running and winning the attorney general job in 2008. The newly elected attorney general only served one term before running for Governor in 2012. He was able to beat out republican Tim Fox and 4 years later did the same against Greg Gianforte; Bullock still serves as governor to this day.


Bullock announced his campaign in his childhood friends classroom, at Helena High School. One student who was at the announcement, Aiden Fasbender, thinks Bullock has the personality necessary for the presidency saying “ He’s a very outgoing guy. He can talk to anybody, make friends with anybody, and i think he’s very even minded, he’s not sold to one side to another so he makes up his mind as he sees the facts.”


Steve Bullock is an interesting case, he’s a progressive democrat that works well with republicans. Bullock used this political stance to appeal to Montanans despite being a democrat. Governor Bullock is pro-choice, believes in human caused climate change, and supports same sex marriage. He simultaneously supports the mining industry and small businesses. Helena High Junior Hannah Bowers believes Bullock’s strength as a candidate is “his ability to speak to both parties and he cares a lot about education, health care, and getting rid of dark money in politics; all issues that people care about.” Bullock’s claim to fame is campaign finance reform. In layman’s terms it basically means that politicians would have to publicly disclose where their campaign money is coming from. This would prevent issues such as outside influence on public elections.


Evan Rankin of Helena High voiced his opinion on campaign finance reform, saying “Well at the moment money runs everything and that is a well known fact. Political efficacy is at an all time low and the decision in Citizens United V. FEC has caused an insane spike in the necessity of money in politics. I believe that  the people’s voice could be heard better with limitations on campaign donations but money is a form of speech so it is a tough issue.” Rankin’s opinion is quite common. Campaign finance reform is a difficult subject but it is a hill that Bullock is willing to die on. If he is successful in his pursuit of the presidency it will be because of his opinion on campaign finance reform.


After Bullock announced he was running president he was met with immediate criticism. Many asked why he would run for president instead of for the senate. Bullock responded on an interview with CBSN saying, “My experience has always been executive. I think that’s where I can best apply my talents, and it’s what I’m looking forward to doing.” Helena High sophomore Emma Piskolich agrees with the governor saying, “Bullock has being working in the executive branch, not legislative… it makes sense for him to stay in the branch of the government that his entire career has been built around.”


On a more personal note, I know Steve  Bullock. I know that he is a stand up guy and that he truly cares about every citizen in Montana. I believe he would be a great president, but I doubt he will ever get the chance to prove it. I do, however, think that Governor Bullock can push his political agenda of campaign finance reform, and common sense politics. Bullock challenged the current president today tweeting “I just published 14 years of my tax returns, and I’ve been a presidential candidate for less than a day. Why are we still waiting on Trump to do the same?”