2020 Montana Senate Candidate Guide

Steve Bullock - Democrat
Steve Bullock - Democrat
Steve Daines - Republican (Incumbent)
Steve Daines - Republican (Incumbent)

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AFFORDABLE CARE ACT – Support Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?

Bullock – Yes. “Make care more affordable … by building on the success of the Affordable Care Act.” Supports a public option.

Daines – No. “Montanans … want Obamacare to be repealed and replaced.” Voted to repeal in Senate.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Limit campaign spending? Require political ads to disclose their largest funders?

Bullock – Yes. Cites “the corrupting influence of money in our politics.” As governor, signed a bill to eliminate dark money. Challenged Supreme Court Citizens United decision.

Daines – Mostly no. Voted against dark-money disclosure. Supported Citizens United decision as free speech issue. Supported Senate candidates e-filing finance reports.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat?

Bullock – Yes. “One of the greatest challenges of our time.” Rejoin Paris Accord: “We simply can’t lead if we are not part of the agreement.”

Daines – No. “To suggest that it’s human-caused is not a sound scientific conclusion.” Supported Trump pullout from the Paris Accord.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Address as a top priority by taxing or limiting output of greenhouse gases?

Bullock – Mostly yes. Created council for Montana to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by 2035 and joined U.S. Climate Alliance. Felt Obama climate plan was overly restrictive toward coal, so backs carbon capture technologies, along with investing in renewables.

Daines – No. “To suggest that it’s human-caused is not a sound scientific conclusion.” Supported Trump pullout from the Paris Accord.

COURTS—SUPREME COURT – Pick Ruth Bader Ginsburg replacement now or let November winner choose? See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

Bullock – “The Senate should follow the precedent set by Senators Daines and McConnell in 2016 to wait until after the inauguration to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court.”

Daines – “President Trump will nominate a well-qualified justice who will uphold our Constitution and protect our freedoms … . I believe the Senate should move forward with confirming President Trump’s nominee.”

COVID-19 RESPONSE – Support Bullock’s response as governor to coronavirus spread?

Bullock – Yes. Says his early and aggressive response to COVID as governor contributed to state’s low hospitalization and death rate.

Daines -No. Containing the virus was important but economic reopening was too slow. Tourist-dependent towns near Yellowstone missed Memorial Day weekend, because Wyoming entrances opened two weeks earlier.

EDUCATION – Use public funding for private and/or for-profit schools?

Bullock – No. Opposes “tax-funded charter schools.” “Privatization diverts money from public schools.”

Daines – Yes. Supports public funding for private schools, including religious schools in Montana school-choice tax credit program.

ENVIRONMENT –  Tighten or loosen environmental laws?

Bullock – Tighten. Criticizes Trump for promoting mining and drilling on public lands, cutting Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Daines – Mixed. Says EPA regulations are “killing Montana jobs.” But co-sponsored major bill funding public lands management.

FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?

Bullock – Tighten. “I took on the big banks.” Supports “holding the big banks and servicers accountable for abusive practices.”

Daines – Loosen. Voted to loosen Dodd-Frank banking rules he saw as “crippling” small local banks. Sponsored bill to reduce autonomy of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

GUN LAWS – Enact more restrictive gun legislation?

Bullock – Yes. “I’m a gun owner.” “Public health issue, not a political issue.” Supports background checks, assault weapon ban, “red flag laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

Daines – No. Introduced bill to “protect Second Amendment.” Opposes “red-flag” laws, more background checks. “Knee-jerk reactions and more gun laws are not the solution.”

IMMIGRATION – Create path to citizenship for “DACA” participants brought to the U.S. as children?

Bullock – Yes. As governor, signed letter to congressional leaders urging that DACA participants be protected from deportation.

Daines – No. Voted against amendment authorizing permanent resident status for “DREAMers” in exchange for border security funding. Called DACA “an unconstitutional act.”

IMMIGRATION – Support expanded border walls and reduced immigration by limiting visas and asylum?

Bullock – No. Wants “border security” and an “orderly immigration system.” Expanded border wall is “a waste of taxpayer money,” better spent on rural broadband.

Daines – Yes. Tougher border security would reduce illegal immigration and drug trafficking, “including by building a border wall.” Introduced bill to extend Trump COVID immigration restrictions

IMPEACHMENT – Supported U.S. Senate calling witnesses and voting to convict President Trump?

Bullock – Yes. “For the sake of the nation, it has to be done.” Saw enough evidence to warrant impeachment and removal.

Daines – No on both. “This impeachment is an unprecedented, purely partisan threat to the Constitution.” Voted to acquit.

IRAN – Oppose military attacks on Iran without Congressional approval?

Bullock – Yes. Give the American people “a voice about whether and how we continue in these current conflicts.”

Daines – No. Voted against Senate resolution requiring congressional approval.

LEGAL ABORTION – Keep legal or ban?

Bullock – Legal. “The most basic human right is the freedom to decide what happens to your body.” As governor, vetoed a bill prohibiting abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Daines – Ban.  Asked Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade. Ban except to protect life of the mother. Ban pill that ends early pregnancies. “I support laws … [protecting] the unborn.”

LGBT RIGHTS – Support same-sex marriage?

Bullock – Yes. First governor in Montana history to officiate a same-sex marriage.

Daines – No. Opposed. “I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

MARIJUANA – Legalize or ban? Position on I-190 & I- 118 recreational marijuana initiatives?

Bullock – Unclear. Decriminalization should be a state decision. Defended state medical marijuana law. No position found on I-190 and I-118.

Daines – Unclear. VA can prescribe medical marijuana. States decide on medical. No position found on I-1190 and I-118 or recreational.

MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25?

Bullock – Yes. “I will work to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”

Daines – No recent position found. In 2014 said states rather than Congress should set minimum wage.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Can Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion-related care?

Bullock – Yes. Threatened legal action over Trump’s restricting federal funding for family planning providers involved with abortions.

Daines – No. Co-sponsored legislation to withdraw federal funding for Planned Parenthood. “It’s an important priority for me personally.”

POLICE/COMMUNITY ISSUES – Restrict police use of force and increase public oversight?

Bullock – Yes. Signed bipartisan bill blocking police departments from receiving certain military equipment. Promised to consult with Native American leaders before sending police assistance to Standing Rock protests.

Daines – Mixed. Co-sponsored reform bill for more police accountability on use of force and an amendment blocking transfer of military equipment to police. Doesn’t support efforts to cut police budgets.

STUDENT FINANCIAL AID – Support free or subsidized tuition for lower income individuals, and forgiveness of student loans?

Bullock – Yes. As governor, froze public college tuition. Supports free community college and need-based financial aid. Proposed tax credits to employers who help grads pay off debt.

Daines – No position found. Supported aid for higher education in CARES Act COVID relief bill that Senate passed unanimously.

SUPREME COURT – Supported Brett Kavanaugh nomination?

Bullock – No. Concerned about Kavanaugh’s stands on health care, voting rights, and workers’ rights. See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

Daines – Yes. “An impressive background and excellent experience.” See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

TAXES – Support administration’s $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts?

Bullock – No. Tax package increased national debt, giving huge tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy. “This isn’t tax reform, it’s a tax scam that hurts workers and families.”

Daines – Yes. “Montanans’ hard-earned dollars belong in their pockets – not in Washington, D.C.’s coffers.”

Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org offer guides to local races.