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Election 2020

Montana Governor Steve Bullock Enters 2020 Democratic Presidential Race

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Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Democratic presidential candidate, officially announces his campaign for president Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at Helena High School in Helena, Mont. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced Tuesday that he is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, distinguishing himself among nearly two dozen candidates as the field’s only statewide elected official to win a state that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.


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 speculationfueled by his political activity in Iowa, which hosts the nation’s first presidential caucus next February.

“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. “I’ve been able to get meaningful things done that impact the people of my state. I believe there’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. He told reporters during an appearance at the high school from which he graduated that he hopes to do that over the next month, but he’ll still be out campaigning even if he doesn’t make the cut.

“The debate stage would be lacking a bit if they didn’t have somebody who actually got reelected in a state where Donald Trump won,” he said. “I’ll do the best I can to get there.”

More broadly, as a white Trump-state Democrat, Bullock could face an uphill battle to break through in a primary that has been defined by former Vice President Joe Biden’s dominance and the progressive energy of a diverse party base.

Bullock plans a two-tiered argument.

He pitches himself as the rare Democrat who can win over rural and small-town voters — a constituency that helped Trump flip key battleground states in 2016. Bullock has done it three times in Montana, where Democrat Hillary Clinton got just 36 percent of the vote against Trump.

“We need somebody who can win back some of these places we lost in ’16,” Bullock said, adding, “Voters want somebody that they believe can win, that will fight for them.”

Yet Bullock emphasizes that he governs with mainstream Democratic priorities. He has expanded Medicaid insurancecoverage to nearly a tenth of Montana’s 1.06 million residents as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and embraced marriage equality for same-sex couples. He’s used executive orders to extend LGBTQ rights and protect net neutrality, and he’s vetoed gun bills backed by the National Rifle Association and measures that would have severely limited abortion access.

He also has spent years advocating for tighter regulation of money in politics, unsuccessfully challenging the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling as attorney general and then, as governor, signing a law that requires dark-money groups operating in the state to disclose their donors. Last year, he sued the Internal Revenue Service over a Trump administration rule change to stop requiring the disclosure of donor information from certain nonprofit organizations.

He’s aligned himself with conservationists, environmental activists and outdoorsmen by prioritizing public land use and conservation — a key issue in many Western states. But he’s also been at odds with them at times as the leader of an energy-producing state, such as when he criticized the Obama administration for “moving the goalposts” by proposing stringent carbon dioxide emission reductions under the now-defunct Clean Power Plan.

His time in office has largely been scandal-free, with the occasional hiccup. Earlier this year, Bullock apologized for not doing enough to warn others about a longtime aide who was accused of sexually harassing women while working first for the Democratic Governors Association while Bullock was chairman and later for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.

Bullock’s attendance at a Paul McCartney concert in Missoula in 2014 also opened the door for critics to scrutinize his use of a state plane that resulted in his having to reimburse $7,000 for flights that mixed official business and campaign trips. The state’s campaign regulator determined Bullock’s 2016 reelection campaign violated state law by failing to make timely expense reports related to use of the plane.

Bullock joins Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper as the only state executives vying for the nomination.

The Montana governor is likely among the final Democrats to join one of the biggest presidential fields in modern memory. De Blasio is expected to announce his decision this week on whether to run for the White House. And Stacey Abrams of Georgia continues to indulge speculation that she could scramble the field with a late launch this summer or fall.

Although he is not a household name, Bullock is well known and well regarded in Democratic circles beyond Montana. He currently chairs the bipartisan National Governors Association.

Some Democrats had hoped he’d challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines in 2020, but Bullock insisted Tuesday that he is focused solely on the presidential race.

“This isn’t for me a vanity project,” Bullock said. “I wouldn’t be getting into it if I didn’t think I had something really significant to offer.”

Bullock and his wife, Lisa, have three children, ages 16, 14 and 12, who attend the same Helena public schools where the governor was educated. Steve Bullock graduated from Claremont McKenna College in California and Columbia Law School. He spent part of his legal career in Montana state government and had stints at law firms in Washington, D.C., and New York, and his own private practice in Helena, before being elected attorney general in 2008. He won the governor’s race with 48 percent of the vote in 2012 and was reelected with 50.2 percent of the vote the same day that Trump won 56.2 percent of presidential ballots.

Election 2020

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Slated To Announce 2020 Presidential Run Next Week

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Mayor de Blasio is expected to announce he’s running for president next week, according to three sources with knowledge of the plans.


The 2020 announcement could come as early as de Blasio’s birthday on Wednesday, when he’ll turn 58, said one source. The kickoff was initially expected this week but pushed back, according to another source.

De Blasio’s federal political action committee, Fairness PAC, recently polled Iowa voters. The PAC also bankrolled the mayor’s recent travel to key early voting primary states, including trips to Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

“Very hard to announce something without a decision – nearly impossible, some might say,” Casca said in a text message on Friday.

These are the 21 Democratic contenders who have announced runs for President. This already-crowded field is slated to get even more crowded.

De Blasio would be joining a crowded field with at least 21 other Democratic candidates — and a handful more who haven’t declared yet. The mayor may not even qualify for the first debates, which have been capped by the Democratic National Committee at 20 participants split over two consecutive nights.

“The debates are important, there’s a lot of other factors in how…a campaign of this importance emerges,” he said on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” Friday.

(Reporting by New York Daily News)

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Election 2020

Colorado Senator Enters 2020 Presidential Election, Becoming 21st Democrat To Enter

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DENVER (AP) — U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado jumped into the packed Democratic presidential primary on Thursday, announcing a 2020 campaign that had been stalled while he was treated for prostate cancer.


Bennet, a former head of Denver Public Schools who has carved out a reputation as a policy-oriented moderate, made his announcement on CBS’ “CBS This Morning,” saying the country faces two “enormous challenges,” among others: “One is the lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans, and the other is the need to restore integrity to our government.”

“I think we need to do both of those things,” he said.

The son of a former ambassador to India and a Yale law school graduate who worked in the Clinton administration, Bennet worked for Republican billionaire Phil Anschutz when he moved to Colorado in the late 1990s. But when he re-entered public life, he did so as a Democrat, serving as chief of staff to then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper went on to become Colorado governor and now is also competing for the Democratic presidential nomination .

The presence of two moderate Coloradans who started their political careers in Denver City Hall reflects how crowded the Democratic presidential field has become. Bennet’s understated style and distaste for the sound bites required in a political campaign have usually led to speculation that he’d seek a Cabinet position rather than try to become the next president. But he began moving to assemble a presidential bid late last year and planned an announcement in April. He had to pause after being diagnosed with prostate cancer this spring.

Bennet, 54, told Colorado journalist Mike Littwin that he’d resume the campaign if he was treated successfully but that he wanted to make a point by disclosing his medical condition.

“I don’t want to be hysterical, but if it was left in me undetected, it could kill me,” Bennet said. “It won’t because I have insurance and decent medical care. The idea that the richest country in the world hasn’t figured out how to have universal health care is beyond embarrassing. It’s devastating.”

Bennet has been a vocal opponent in the Democratic Party of the push for single-payer health care championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another 2020 presidential candidate . Instead, Bennet proposes letting consumers buy into Medicare through insurance exchanges, arguing that that will be a more efficient and realistic path to universal coverage. Likewise, Bennet has pushed back against arguments by some other presidential hopefuls that Democrats should respond to Republican tactics by expanding the size of the Supreme Court, saying the party needs to avoid the same scorched-earth tactics that, he says, its main rival employs.

Indeed, in a 4-minute launch video released Thursday morning, Bennet positioned himself as a truth teller willing to level with voters.

“I’m not going to pretend free college is the answer,” he said. “I’m not gonna say there’s a simple solution to a problem if I don’t believe there is one.”

Despite his professorial reputation, Bennet has shown an ability to be a tough campaigner. Appointed in 2009, Bennet won his first election in 2010 by pounding his Republican rival for opposing abortion rights and comparing homosexuality to alcoholism, eking out a narrow win in an otherwise disastrous year for Bennet’s party. Four years later, Bennet chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a position that put him in contact with a network of national donors who also can help fund a presidential campaign.

Bennet gained internet fame this year when he blasted Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for backing a bill to pay Coast Guard members during the partial government shutdown but not reopen the government. Bennet said Cruz once led a 16-day government shutdown in a failed bid to derail funding for the Affordable Care Act at a time when Colorado was experiencing catastrophic flooding, delaying relief efforts.

“When the senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013, my state was flooded,” Bennet shouted. “People were killed. People’s houses were destroyed. Their small businesses were destroyed, forever.”

Bennet accused Cruz of crying “crocodile tears” this time around.

Cruz responded on the Senate floor by saying Bennet “spent a great deal of time yelling” and “attacking me personally.”

“I think we should discuss issues and substance and facts and not simply scream and yell at each other,” Cruz said.

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Election 2020

Joe Biden Raised $6.3 Million In First 24 Hours Of Presidential Campaign

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WASHINGTON—Joe Biden faced questions about his handling of the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas, as the former vice president sat Friday for his first televised interview sincelaunching his presidential campaign.


Mr. Biden said in an interview with ABC’s “The View” that he was sorry for the manner in which the Senate Judiciary Committee treated Anita Hill, the law professor who had accused Mr. Thomas of sexual harassment when they worked together years earlier.

Mr. Biden, who served as the committee’s chairman, faced criticism at the time that he was too accommodating to Mr. Thomas and failed to protect Ms. Hill, who is black, from a series of harsh questions from the committee, which was composed entirely of white men. Mr. Thomas denied all of the accusations during the hearing, calling them false.

“If you go back and look at what I said and didn’t say, I don’t think I treated her badly,” Mr. Biden said in Friday’s interview. “What I couldn’t figure out to do, and we still haven’t figured it out: How do you stop people from asking inflammatory questions? How do you stop these character assassinations?”

Mr. Biden added: “There are a lot of mistakes made across the board, and for those, I apologize, that we may have been able to do and conduct it better. But I believed Dr. Hill from the beginning, from the beginning, and I said it.”

Mr. Biden spoke in private earlier this month with Ms. Hill and said he told her he was sorry for the way she was treated.

Ms. Hill said in an interview Wednesday with the New York Times that she wasn’t satisfied with what he said to her. Ms. Hill, a Brandeis University professor of social policy, law and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, didn’t respond to requests for comment Thursday and Friday.

Mr. Biden also stopped short Friday of offering a full-throated apology to the seven women who came forward in recent weeks to accuse him of invading their personal space in his interactions with them. None of the women have accused him of sexual harassment.Former Vice President Joe Biden announced his 2020 campaign, in what will be his third run for president. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib takes a look at what he brings to the table and what are his liabilities.

Mr. Biden said he needed to be “more cognizant” of his interactions with men and women and their personal space.

When co-host Joy Behar noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “wants you to say, ‘I’m sorry I invaded your space,’” Mr. Biden responded: “So I invaded your space…I’m sorry this happened.”

“But I’m not sorry in the sense that I think I did anything that was intentionally designed to do anything wrong or be inappropriate,” he said. “It was inappropriate that I didn’t understand.”

Mr. Biden opened his third bid for the presidency on Thursday, entering a field of 20 major Democrats vying to challenge President Trump.

The 76-year-old former vice president declined to commit to serving only one term if elected, adding that he might get only one term if he wins.

(Reporting by Wall Street Journal)

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