Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Steve Bullock is an 800-pound gorilla

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2011 at 1:30 PM

So says the Washington Post when listing the 2012 Montana governor race as the nation's third most-likely to switch from Dem control to the GOP. (H/T to MT Cowgirl for noticing this first.)

Chris Cillizza of "The Fix" blog says the third-place ranking comes with a caveat:

State Attorney General Steve Bullock (D) is the 800-pound gorilla in the race and most smart Democrats now expect him to run. If he does, he gives Democrats a real chance of holding onto the Montana governorship for 12 straight years. Republicans already have a crowded field with former Rep. Rick Hill as well as former state Sens. Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller among others. Whoever winds up as the GOP nominee will likely benefit from the likelihood that the Republican presidential nominee will easily carry the state.

Politico, meanwhile, has the race listed as its second most competitive, also listing Bullock's expected candidacy as one of the driving factors.

Longtime Montana Democratic consultant Barrett Kaiser said there's a reason the Republican Governors Association is worried about Bullock.

"He's the complete Montana package. Good-looking, but not slick. Well-spoken, yet folksy, good name ID, solid record and can raise a pile of cash. Couple that with Rick Hill's personal issues and a contentious primary and you have a very competitive open seat," said Kaiser.

Speculation about Bullock running for governor started years ago. In fact, the Indy even wondered back in 2009 if his friendship with Missoula Mayor John Engen could factor into the ticket.

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