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The Anatomy of a Trial Balloon: Dem Gov Floats White House Aspirations

Montana’s governor toyed with the idea of a White House run to the New York Times, scored a headline from CBS News, and then played coy with the AP…

White House

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock wants to run for president. The Democrat appeared in a New York Times profile on Monday in which he said his voice is one that could be effective beyond Big Sky Country:

“I believe the time is right to lend my voice, the voice of someone that after getting elected has been able to govern in what’s viewed as a red state,” Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana said in an interview. “Some of the things that I’ve been able to do in Montana can also translate beyond just the state’s border.”

Mr. Bullock is creating a federal political action committee, Big Sky Values PAC, that will offer a political infrastructure to let him meet Democratic donors, contribute to the party’s candidates and fund his out-of-state electoral travels.

That triggered a CBS News headline on Tuesday that blared: “Montana governor takes step toward 2020 presidential bid.”

Then on Wednesday, Bullock gently walked the whole thing back with the kind of wink-wink statements the American public has come to expect from its presidential candidates in waiting: “2020 is long, long way away,” he told the Associated Press.

Bullock, first elected governor in 2012, is termed out of running for the state’s highest office again. Long-shot candidacies like his often begin well before other, more conventional candidates, to build up support and momentum.

Will it work? Time will tell. But if it doesn’t, Bullock has nothing to lose. He could choose instead to run against Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) for his Senate seat in 2020.