The 53-year-old governor is running as a centrist Democrat who has advanced party values while navigating a Republican legislature and a GOP-leaning electorate. Bullock made his candidacy official in a video that capped months of speculation fueled by his political activity in Iowa, which hosts the nation’s first presidential caucus next February. He plans to address supporters later Tuesday in the state capital, Helena, where he grew up not far from the governor’s mansion.
“What we need to do is get the country back on track, make sure everybody has a fair shot at success,” he told The Associated Press in an interview before launching his campaign via online video. “I’ve been able to get meaningful things done that impact the people of my state. I believe they’ll be a strong reception for that.”
His immediate challenge is corralling enough donors and support in the polls to qualify for the first Democratic debate in June. More broadly, as a white, Trump-state Democrat, Bullock could face an uphill battle to break through in a primary that — at least in its early days — has been defined by former Vice President Joe Biden’s dominance and the progressive energy of a diverse party base.