My Encounter with Gov. Steve Bullock

Posted: November 18, 2019 | By: Tanner Halleran Tagged: Blog

Arguably, one of the most interesting people running for president on the Democratic ticket is Governor Steve Bullock of Montana. When Bullock announced his candidacy, I had never really heard of him and didn’t care to research him. I had surprising not run into him in Iowa during his campaign until Sunday the 17th in Grinnell. Grinnell has always been unique to me because it seems to be an eclectic place where you can find different viewpoints and ideologies. And unrelated to politics, it’s the city where I got my first tattoo. Also, it’s a fairly easy place to access, sixty minutes from Des Moines and just off of I-80.

Bullock’s meet and greet took place at Saint’s Rest, a local coffee shop in their downtown district. It was a quaint place filled with around 40-50 people when we first arrived, which I’ll admit is far more than I expected. The crowd was a majority of older, white citizens with a light mixing of presumably Grinnell College students. About ten minutes before the event was supposed to start, the local organizer, whose name I am failing to remember for lack of charisma during her ‘ask’, started off the event. By the time that she started, I’d estimate that there were approximately 75 people there in total (which, again, is far more than I expected). Following the organizer, another woman, who forgot to mention her name, introduced Governor Bullock by sharing an anecdote of going to high school with a now park ranger in Montana who has worked closely with the governor during his tenure in the position.

Governor Bullock started off with presumably his stump speech. Since I had not seen him before, that is only speculation. It seemed very polished and he was knowledgeable about what he spoke of, mainly winning Montana the same year as Donald Trump and fighting ‘dark money’. Following about 20-30 minutes of speaking, he took questions from the audience. These spanned from children to veterans to trade and the USMCA. All of his answers were adequate and unsurprisingly, no one really pushed him beyond what was offered as an answer. Following the questioning period and when the event concluded, I was able to connect and chat for a few seconds and walk away with a photo.

I started this off with Governor Bullock might be the most interest candidate in the race because looking at his resume and his track record, there could be a strong argument that he would be a prime candidate. It is hard to understand why he hasn’t broken through but from my observations and speculations, it might be in part to a less than stellar staff in the state. Following the event, I was chatting with another event goer and spoke about her friends who were supporters of Bullock. His campaign though, when doing a house party in the area, failed to notify these people (who also had donated). When a campaign can’t connect with the base of supporters, it is hard to build further support. Additionally, one can also argue that a lack of funding would play into this problem. While I believe this to be somewhat true, his staff could be to blame as many are also not from Iowa (to my understanding) and may not understand the politics of Iowa. This in itself calls to question how long his campaign will hold on. Also as an interesting note, he is the last remaining current-governor in the race and so perhaps that will help give him his breakthrough.