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Steve Bullock, Democratic

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock dropped out of race for Democratic presidential nomination

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Monday formally dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, ending a long-shot campaign that failed to catch fire even as he attracted support from senior party officials and operatives.
Bullock, 53, was the only candidate in the Democratic contest who won election in a red state on the same day President Trump won the White House. He based his campaign on a promise to win back areas where Democrats have lost voters in recent years.
But he faced the same headwinds as two other governors who had already dropped their campaigns, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D). None could build a national movement to compete with a top tier led by a former vice president and two prominent senators.
“I entered this race as a voice to win back the places we lost, bridge divides and rid our system of the corrupting influence of dark money,” Bullock said in a statement. “While the concerns that propelled me to enter in the first place have not changed, I leave this race filled with gratitude and optimism, inspired and energized by the good people I’ve had the privilege of meeting over the course of the campaign.”
“While there were many obstacles we could not have anticipated when entering this race, it has become clear that in this moment, I won’t be able to break through to the top tier of this still-crowded field of candidates,” Bullock said.
Bullock’s exit likely means the end of a 12-year career in elected office. While some Democrats wanted Bullock to run against Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) next year, his campaign spokeswoman said that option was still off the table.
“While he plans to work hard to elect Democrats in the state and across the country in 2020, it will be in his capacity as a governor and a senior voice in the Democratic primary — not as a candidate for U.S. Senate,” the spokeswoman, Galia Slayden, said in a statement.
In six months in the race, Bullock focused almost entirely on building a winning campaign in Iowa. He attracted support from Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (D), a personal friend and the most senior elected official to offer an endorsement of a 2020 contender.
Miller also appeared in one of two TV ads Bullock ran in Iowa last month, at a cost of about $500,000.
But he could not translate that into a broader base of support. Bullock scored more than 1 percent support in only one poll conducted in Iowa this year, an Emerson survey conducted in October.
He qualified for only one of the Democratic debates, where he failed to score a breakout moment. His campaign had raised $4.3 million through the end of the third quarter of the year, putting him well behind the front-running candidates.

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