WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential hopeful Steve Bullock, the Montana governor, said on Wednesday he was “disappointed” he did not make the cut for the first Democratic debate, but it is not a major setback.
Rather it’s “a bump,” Bullock told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bullock jumped in the contest a month ago, getting in late because he needed to remain in Montana because the legislature, which only meets for 90 days every two years, was in session.
Bullock was in Illinois for a fundraiser in Highland Park on Tuesday night and in Chicago on Wednesday for media hits and prospecting.
His claim in the crowded field is that his election as governor in a state voting for President Donald Trump in 2016 gives him the edge needed to flip swing states to Democrats in 2020.
“I certainly think I offer something unique to that field,” Bullock said.
Under rules set by the Democratic National Committee, a candidate needed to get at least 1% in three polls in order to qualify for the first debate, June 26 and 27 in Miami. Because there are 24 contenders for the 2020 nomination, according to the Associated Press — though not all candidate listings include former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel — the DNC imposed criteria to allow only 20 to debate over the two nights.
With the first presidential vote not until next February in Iowa, Bullock said, “I think there’s a lot of time there.”