UPDATED: May 14, 2019

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is hardly a household name, but he’s hoping to make the main stage of the 2020 Democratic primary debates and become a major player.  His argument is that he has won statewide office as a Democrat in a deep-red state that Donald Trump carried by 20 points. “It would be a shame if that group [of 2020 candidates] didn’t include the only Democrat to win in a Trump state,” Bullock told reporters in Helena on Tuesday.

The counterargument is that many Americans think Montana is the capital of Canada. It’s not a typical launchpad for national politics.

Just a few days ago, for example,  the Montana governor signed a two-year, $10.3 billion state budget.  To put Montana’s $5 billion annual budget in perspective, that’s about how much the city of Philadelphia spends every year. (Then again, it’s more than 10 times larger than the $370 million annual budget for Pete Buttigieg’s South Bend, Indiana.)

Bullock has made campaign finance issues and transparency a central part of his political agenda, fighting to stop corporate spending in Montana elections and forcing more financial disclosures by nonprofit groups.  At the same time, he’s started his own political action committee, Big Sky PAC, which has donated to six out-of-state Democrats.
By sheer coincidence(?), five of them are in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Many media outlets continue to report that Gov. Bullock is number 22 on the candidate list because they’re not counting former Alaska U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, but he’s likely to meet the requirements to make the debate stage and claims he’s in it to win it.

And the fun may not be over yet!  The Iowa caucuses are nine months away and more candidates may enter the race.  NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is still a “maybe.”  Georgia’s Stacey Abrams has yet to give a firm “no.” Billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg have both dropped out, then said they may change their minds depending on how the campaign develops. John Kerry could still get in, and Hillary Clinton’s on the list “might jump in the race” list because, well…Hillary Clinton.

An updated list of the declared/potential 2020 candidates is below:




Senator Michael Bennet (CO)

Former Vice President Joe Biden

Senator Cory Booker (NJ)

Gov. Steve Bullock (MT)

Mayor Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, IN)

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro

Rep. John Delaney (MD)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI)

Senator Kristen Gillibrand (NY)

Former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel

Senator Kamala Harris (CA)

Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO)

Gov. Jay Inslee (WA)

Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN)

Mayor Wayne Messam (Miramar, FL)

Rep. Seth Moulton (MA)

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX)

Rep. Tim Ryan (OH)

Senator Bernie Sanders (VT)

Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA)

Author Marianne Williamson

Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA)

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang


Former state legislator Stacey Abrams (GA)

Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg (NYC)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (??)

Mayor Bill de Blasio (NYC)

Former Secretary of State John Kerry

Billionaire Tom Steyer



Entrepreneur Mark Cuban

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz



Attorney Michael Avenatti

Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg (NYC) 

Senator Sherrod Brown (OH)

Senator Bob Casey (PA)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (NY)

Mayor Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles)

Former Attorney General Eric Holder

Former Mayor Mitch Landrieu (New Orleans)

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (VA)

Senator Jeff Merkley (OR)

Senator Chris Murphy (CT)

State Senator Richard Ojeda (WV)

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley (MD)

Former Gov. Deval Patrick (MA)

Billionaire Tom Steyer


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