Montana Gov. Steve Bullock to run for Senate against Daines

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FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaks during the Climate Forum at Georgetown University, in Washington. Bullock, who insisted he wont run for the U.S. Senate, is poised to do just that, according to a person familiar with his plans but unauthorized to discuss them and granted anonymity. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

HELENA, Mont. – Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Monday he will run against first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines, giving Democrats a boost in their effort to take control of the Senate in November.

His decision to run is an about-face made at the last minute for the two-term governor, who ended his long-shot bid for president in December and had repeatedly insisted he had no interest in running for the Senate.

Flanked by his family, Bullock told reporters he previously rejected the idea of another campaign out of consideration for his wife Lisa and their three school-age children who have been in the public eye for most of their lives. But they decided as a family to go ahead on the final day that candidates can file for the elections.

“As a family, we've been talking about this quite a bit as of late,” Bullock said in a news conference after filing his paperwork. “We decided that I can either wish that Washington worked more like Montana or we would try to do something about it. We decided that this wasn't the time to be on the sidelines or step back.”

Lisa Bullock said the family had to work through issues including wanting to spend time with their oldest daughter, Caroline, who will be leaving for college later this year, along with the grind and negativity that comes with campaigning.

“Campaigns are hard on families,” Lisa Bullock said. “I think it's been hard in the last three (campaigns) for our children to witness what has been published and what has been said about their father.”

Democrats need to win four seats now held by Republicans, without losing any to win outright control of the Senate. If President Donald Trump is defeated, the Democrats would need a net gain of three seats and the vice-president's tie-breaking vote for control.

Bullock had come under increasing pressure to run since dropping his presidential bid, including meeting with former President Barack Obama in Washington. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently traveled to Montana to meet with Bullock.