One of Florida’s top Democrat fundraisers has come out early for Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.
The same day Bullock announced he’s running for president, R. Justin Day sent a fundraising email on the Democrat’s behalf.
“I truly believe a governor will be out next president,” Day told Florida Politics. “I think it’s going to be Steve Bullock.”
Day, managing director for Capital City Consulting’s Tampa Bay office, feels the Montanan can unseat an incumbent Republican president.
“Our top priority must be finding a proven, progressive leader who can bring people together to defeat Donald Trump and get our country back on track,” Day wrote in an e-mail blast.
“Governor Bullock has already done that in Montana and is the best candidate to take back the White House in 2020.”
Day’s support means a great deal for Bullock financially and in rallying support in America’s largest swing state.
The lobbyist served as a hiring coup for CCC last year. Before that, he spent more than six years as director for The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners.
More important, he’s connected to the biggest Democratic donors in Florida. Day served as Tampa finance chair for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. He also served on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Florida finance team in 2016.
OpenSecrets.org lists Day as one of the top bundlers for Obama’s successful re-election effort in 2012.
He also serves on the finance committee for the Democratic Governors Association. That’s how he met Bullock, who chaired the DGA in 2014 and 2015. The organization helped Bullock win re-election as Governor of Montana in 2016.
Day notes Bullock already boasts a track record of winning in a deep red state, and doing so despite Trump energizing right-wing voters there.
When Trump in 2016 beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in Montana by 101,531 votes, Bullock defeated Republican Greg Gianforte by 19,818 votes, about 4 percent of the vote. As Bullock told The Atlantic he’s the only Democrat to win a Trump state with Trump on the ballot.
But more than win, Day notes Bullock actually advanced a progressive agenda in Big Sky Country.
“Just last month, he led the majority-Republican legislature to reauthorize the expansion of Medicaid,” Day wrote.
“Steve was also a leader on the passage of some of the most aggressive campaign finance laws in the country and additional legislation to bring down the cost of health care and drugs.”
Day urged associated to chip in the maximum allowable federal donations to Bullock’s fledging campaign.
The Montana Democrat entered the race Tuesday as the 22nd major candidate seeking the nomination. Early fundraising, Day acknowledged, will make the difference whether Bullock emerges from that crowd.
“Fundraising is the heartbeat of any campaign, and this will not be any different,” Day said.
Bullock doesn’t enter the race with the name recognition and national connections of former Vice President Joe Biden, Day said. But a solid rollout can make up the difference.
This year brought the entry of numerous national figures into the presidential fray, including Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren.
But Day notes America rarely elect senators for president. Obama, who beat fellow Sen. John McCain in 2008, became the first sitting senator to win the White House since John Kennedy in 1960.
“We don’t elect senators very often. They have a long voting record to look at,” Day said. “Governors have to actually govern, to pass budgets get bills passed and work across the aisle.”
In that sense, Bullock represents a return to normalcy, a candidate from outside Washington who still brings executive government experience.
“My relationship with the Governor is a personal one,” Day said, “but I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t believe in practicality that he’s one of the most qualified candidates to be president.”