AP NEWS

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, possible 2020 contender, makes Ohio stop for Richard Cordray

September 27, 2018

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, possible 2020 contender, makes Ohio stop for Richard Cordray

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Although the 2018 election isn’t yet over, a potential 2020 Democratic contender nonetheless made a political pilgrimage to Ohio on Thursday. 

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock traveled to Cleveland to lend his support to Richard Cordray, the Democratic Ohio governor candidate. Bullock and former Rep. Betty Sutton, Cordray’s running mate, led a roundtable discussion on health care at the Cleveland Teachers Union’s Downtown headquarters.

Cordray and Sutton are running in the November election against state Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted, both Republicans. In the meeting, Bullock and Sutton criticized DeWine for working to overturn Obamacare, which included coverage for pre-existing conditions and funding for expanded Medicaid eligibility. After winning the Republican primary this year, DeWine announced he supports keeping Medicaid expansion with added work requirements for enrollees. 

Bullock is openly testing the waters for a presidential run, with previous stops this year in Iowa and New Hampshire, the early presidential voting states. His narrow 2016 re-election in a state Donald Trump won by 20 points is part of his pragmatic political elevator speech. Like Cordray, he’s a former state attorney general. CNN in August listed him as number 10 on a list of 10 possible 2020 Democratic contenders. (Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and Sen. Sherrod Brown also are considered Democratic possibilities for 2020, while Republican Gov. John Kasich has explored running, too.) 

In an interview, Bullock praised Cordray before touting his own work in Montana to promote campaign-finance transparency. He said like Ohio, Montana has a Republican-controlled state legislature, with which he worked to expand Medicaid, increase school funding and create an earned-income tax credit.  

He also said by focusing on kitchen-table issues like jobs and health care, Democrats can transcend urban or rural politics. In perhaps an indication of his whirlwind tour of the country, he accidentally referred to Ohio as “Iowa” a couple of times.

“We need to be focused on how do you help people climb that economic ladder,” Bullock said. “If we don’t have a jobs and economy message that recognizes not all folks are doing that much better, then we’re not giving them a reason to vote for us, as opposed to just against the president or against the local candidate.”

Others who attended Thursday’s roundtable included City Councilman Blaine Griffin and Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke, who are both players in Cuyahoga County Democratic politics.

AP RADIO
Update hourly