While some state leaders shepherding their states through the pandemic are running for re-election this year, Bullock is the only sitting governor trying to unseat an incumbent Senator in a key Democratic race. And as several governors face considerable backlash over their handling of their respective states at this stage of the pandemic, Bullock’s reopening approach has gone largely unnoticed nationally despite the implications for control of the U.S. Senate in a state President Donald Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016.

“That’s going to be a dog fight and Steve Daines is in the fight of his life in my opinion,” said Sales, who supports Daines. “And I think Bullock is well positioned. He’s going to be extremely competitive.”

State data shows Montana has reported 458 COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths, with new case numbers having dwindled to zero at points in the last week before a small increase was noted.

Under Bullock’s approach, bars and restaurants were among the places allowed to welcome the public back last Monday, dependent on certain conditions being met. Late last month, “main street and retail businesses,” were allowed to reopen with similar measures.