Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who pitched himself during a brief presidential campaign last year as a Democratic pragmatist who had won votes from Republicans, will challenge GOP Sen. Steve Daines this year, the New York Times reported.
Bullock had said he would not seek the Senate when he ended his presidential bid in December. The deadline to run in the state’s June 2 primary is Monday.
CQ Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales of Inside Elections said that if Bullock enters the race, it’s a “legitimate game-changing event.
“With the governor in the race, Democrats would have another takeover opportunity,” said Gonzales, who had rated the Montana race Solid Republican.
Bullock could not be reached for comment. The Montana Democratic State Committee could not confirm the report and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee did not respond to a request for comment.
Daines first won the seat six years ago by defeating Democrat Amanda Curtis by 17 percentage points, and President Donald Trump won Montana by 20 points in 2016. But Democratic Sen. Jon Tester won a third term in 2018 by 3 points.
Daines had $5 million in his campaign account on Dec. 31, dwarfing the $292,000 held by Democrat Cora Neumann, who launched a run in October. Several other Democrats are also running.
Bullock had raised and spent more than $5 million on his presidential race. His presidential account had $122,000 on Dec. 31.