(KPAX) Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock apparently will enter Montana’s U.S. Senate race, to challenge Republican Sen. Steve Daines, transforming the contest into one of the nation’s marquee electoral battles, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
Multiple sources also have told MTN News that Bullock may announce his candidacy on Monday – the last possible day that candidates can file for the ballot in Montana.
Bullock did not immediately return a telephone call asking for comment.
Bullock, who ended a presidential run last December, has steadfastly rejected requests from national Democrats and others to enter the race, saying he wasn’t interested.
But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and former President Barack Obama each met with Bullock personally in the last month.
If Bullock enters the race, he’d be the fourth Democrat – but of course would be the prohibitive favorite to win the primary and take on Daines, a first-term Republican.
Daines and national Republicans have long been preparing for the possibility of Bullock getting into the contest.
Minutes after the Times reported the story, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a statement saying Bullock is “giving a foolish Senate run another look.”
“Whether it’s his support for removing President Trump from office, banning guns or allowing a top staffer to prey on women, Bullock lacks the character and values Montanans expect from a senator,” said NRSC spokesman Nathan Brand.
Bullock’s entry into the contest would create another multimillion-dollar Senate race in Montana, similar to the $70 million battle in 2018 between Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Matt Rosendale – a race that saw President Trump visit the state four times, to back Rosendale.
Tester still won re-election in a close contest.