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Who is Steve Bullock? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate
By Stefanie Pousoulides June 18, 2019

 

Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to www.politifact.com/2020/

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is the only Democratic candidate to have won a Trump state.

With an approval rating of 66%, Bullock was ranked the most popular Democratic governor in 2016. When it came time for the 2016 election, he and only one other Democrat in Montana won statewide offices – when Trump won by more than 20 points.

He touts some of his accomplishments as expanding Medicaid and becoming the first governor in the country to sign an executive order to enforce compliance with net neutrality principles.

Born and raised in Montana, Bullock launched his career in public service in 1996. After an unsuccessful bid for attorney general in 2000, he joined a law firm in Washington, D.C., and became an adjunct law professor.

Bullock eventually returned to his home state and started his own law firm. He was instrumental in securing the passage of a 2006 ballot measure to increase the state’s minimum wage and to establish automatic annual cost-of-living adjustments.

Bouncing back from the loss eight years prior, Bullock was elected as Montana’s attorney general in 2008. This is where Bullock’s record of garnering bipartisan support for his initiatives begins – the Republican state legislature passed legislation like a 24/7 Sobriety Program and a Children’s Justice Center.

Since he was attorney general, Bullock has made controversial attempts to crack down on dark money. He has gone as far as defending a law deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court and suing the Trump administration. As governor, he has signed a bill for dark money groups to disclose spending in state elections and an executive order to require state contractors to release dark money contributions.

During his presidential campaign, Bullock emphasized the decline of the American dream by noting how a lower percentage of 30-year-olds are doing better than their parents today than when he was being raised.

Name: Steve Bullock

Current occupation: Governor of Montana

Party: Democrat

Federal offices: None

Key bills passed: Campaign disclosure bill, 2015; Earned Income Tax Credit, 2017; Pre-K pilot program, 2017; Medicaid expansion bill, 2019; $400 million infrastructure bills, 2019.

State and local offices: Chief legal counsel to Montana Secretary of State, 1996-97; Montana Department of Justice: executive assistant attorney general and acting chief deputy,  1997-2001; attorney general of Montana, 2009-13; governor of Montana, 2013 to present.

Private sector work: Steptoe & Johnson, 2001-04; adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School, 2001-04; Started own law firm in 2005.

Military: None

Books authored/co-authored: None

Education: BA Claremont McKenna College, 1988; JD Columbia Law School, 1994.

Birth date: April 11, 1966

Personal life: Married to Lisa Downs since 1999; three children.

Religion: Catholic

Top issues: Campaign finance, internet freedom, Medicaid, pharmaceutical companies, infrastructure.

Endorsements: Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Montana Sen. Jon Tester

Major donors: FEC has yet to authorize Bullock as a presidential candidate.

Miscellaneous: When Montana’s gubernatorial seat opened, Bullock’s fourth-grade dream of becoming governor came true.

Other coverage: PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter; Business Insider, Steve Bullock is running for president in 2020. Here's everything we know about the candidate and how he stacks up against the competition,May 31, 2019; Center for Public Integrity, 9 things to know about Steve Bullock, May 14, 2019; Vox, Steve Bullock, the Democratic governor of Montana, is running for president, May 14, 2019

Campaign website: https://stevebullock.com

This report will be updated as the campaign continues.

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Our Sources

American Motorcyclist Association, Profile: Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT), No date

Billings Gazette, Bullock signs Montana campaign finance bill into law, April 22, 2015

Billings Gazette, Bullock signs investing $400M in infrastructure across Montana, May 10, 2019

Capital Research Center, 2020 Contender Steve Bullock Benefited from Shady Funding, May 29, 2019

CBS News, Jon Tester endorses fellow Montana Democrat Steve Bullock for president, June 9, 2019

Claremont McKenna College, Montana Governor Steve Bullock '88 on Public Service, Integrity and the problem of "Dark Money," Nov. 5, 2014

Colorado Politics, OUT WEST ROUNDUP | Bullock tells Montana contractors to report ‘dark money,’ June 22, 2018

Des Moines Register, Steve Bullock, in his first Iowa visit as a presidential candidate, will have the support of AG Tom Miller, May 16, 2019

Helena Independent Record, Bullock signs Montana’s Medicaid expansion bill, May 9, 2019

Helena Independent Record, Profile: Bullock looks to governor’s office after term as attorney general, Sept 3. 2012

Montana.gov, Governor Bullock Signs Tax Cut for Montana Working Families, May 12, 2017,

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Governor Bullock Announces $3 Million to Expand Preschool in Montana, June 6, 2017

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Governor Steve Bullock, No date

Montana Department of Justice, Attorney General Steve Bullock, No date

Morning Consult, Here Are America’s Least (and Most) Popular Governors, No date

PolitiFact, Fact-checking Steve Bullock on decline of the American Dream, May 21, 2019

PolitiFact, What percentage of gun sales are done without a background check?, March 16, 2018

The New York Times, Montana Election Results, Aug. 1, 2017

The New York Times, Montana Governor Signs Order to Force Net Neutrality, Jan. 22, 2018

The Seattle Times, Montana governor sues over IRS policy on tax-exempt groups, July 14, 2018

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Who is Steve Bullock? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate