Former Student Body President Runs for Montana Governor

On election night, most student voters at CMC will eagerly (or perhaps anxiously) anticipate the outcome of the presidential election. Many may follow races in their home state. But all CMCers can also look to Montana, where Steve Bullock '88 is running for governor. Bullock is the Democratic candidate in the race, which most polls indicate is too close to call. He said he is running because he wants to give back to the state of Montana.

“Montana provided me a great education and an opportunity to sort of dream big,” he said. “My motivation is really to make sure my kids and everyone else’s kids can have the opportunities I had.”

Of course, his CMC education helped him out a fair bit, too.

Bullock, who was student body president, was in the second class of students to complete the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics program.

“It really taught us to think,” he said.

He said he enjoyed working closely with the PPE professors, including Professor Ward Elliott, who teaches the politics leg of the program, as well as other professors at CMC.

“You’d really get to know your professors, and they could meaningfully impact not only your education but also your life,” Bullock said.

Another professor with whom he worked closely was Government Professor Jack Pitney, who was Bullock’s senior thesis advisor.

“He was an excellent student,” said Pitney. “He was always ready to argue for his beliefs, but he always did it in a very civil and thoughtful way.”

That Pitney and Bullock were on opposite sides of the political spectrum was “not a problem at all,” Pitney said. “One of the things that makes Steve such an effective candidate in Montana is that he knows how to talk to Republicans.”

Bullock, who earned his law degree from Columbia University, was elected as Attorney General of Montana in 2008.

As Attorney General, he said, he addressed the issues of drunk driving and prescription drug abuse. He also challenged the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission through his defense of Montana’s ban on corporate campaign expenditures.

“Montana was the state that took the lead in continuing to try to make sure our elections are decided by people and not unlimited corporate spending, and I’m proud of that,” Bullock said.

Now, he’s on the home stretch of his campaign. According to The Missoulian, Republican candidate Rick Hill leads Bullock by 3 percentage points, falling within the poll's margin of error of 4 percentage points.

"It'll be close," Bullock said.

He has focused much of his campaigning on interacting with voters.

“We’re a state where we still go door to door to talk to voters,” he said. “It’s a pretty hectic pace… I’m traveling to all corners of our state.”

Bullock said that, as Governor, he would work to strengthen education, promote small businesses, and preserve Montana’s quality of life, including its natural resources.

He also said that professors and friends from CMC have supported his campaign by attending events and making financial contributions.

“It’s lifelong friendships,” he said. “They’re there to support me just as I would support them, and that’s independent of party label.”

Bullock has also gotten support from CMC students. Aditya Pai ’13 and Mark Munro ’12 both interned with the campaign this summer, as did Alan Mitchell PO '12.

“We had a little Claremont contingent up there," Pai said.

Pai said he enjoyed working for the campaign and getting to know Bullock.

“He’s just really laid-back,” Pai said. “He’s sharp, he’s intellectual; he’s just kind of a cool guy who you want to hang out with.”

He added, “I believe in him, and I think that’s what’s most important when you’re voting for someone.”