“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. 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.”
Bullock will not run for the U.S. Senate, according to campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen.
Bullock is the third current or former governor to drop out of 2020 contention, following Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. However, another former governor, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, recently entered the race.
The challenges facing governors in the 2020 contest is a historical shift for an office that was once considered a stepping stone to the presidency. In the era of Trump — and with impeachment hearings sucking up much of the political oxygen — candidates who aren’t a member of Congress have complained they’ve faced more difficulty raising money and winning TV exposure. Bullock also complained about federal election rules that allowed U.S. senators in the 2020 race to transfer huge sums from their campaign funds into their presidential account.
Bullock qualified for just one of the first five presidential debates, limiting his exposure even further. In the last financial quarter, he raised $2.3 million, lagging behind most of the field.
Bullock is not planning to endorse any other candidate at this time, the campaign said.
“Governor Bullock will continue to faithfully and effectively serve the people of Montana as their Governor,” Slayen said. “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 Party — not as a candidate for U.S. Senate.”