Nation & World

Iowa Attorney General Miller endorses Montana Gov. Steve Bullock for president

Govs. Larry Hogan (from left) of Maryland and Steve Bullock of Montana speak to reporters during a National Governors Association event in downtown Des Moines on March 4. (Erin Murphy/Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau)
Govs. Larry Hogan (from left) of Maryland and Steve Bullock of Montana speak to reporters during a National Governors Association event in downtown Des Moines on March 4. (Erin Murphy/Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau)

DES MOINES — One of Iowa’s top elected Democrats endorsed Montana Gov. Steve Bullock in the party’s crowded presidential primary.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller on Thursday morning announced his support of Bullock, who announced his campaign for president earlier this week and was scheduled to hold his first campaign event in Iowa on Thursday evening.

Bullock is a two-term Montana governor and former attorney general of that state.

Miller is the longest-serving state attorney general in U.S. history. The Des Moines Register in 2014 listed Miller as one of the state’s most influential Democrats.

“Steve and I have been friends for 10 years. He’s a remarkable person. I was a little surprised when he told me he was seriously thinking about running for president,” Miller noted, “but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that it made sense.

“He’s roughly where I am on the issues,” added Miller. “He’s not a Bernie guy, but he’s not a moderate either. He’s a progressive. He’s not too far from where Obama might be but maybe Obama would be a little bit to the left.”

Miller endorsed Barack Obama early in the 2008 cycle and Hillary Clinton late in the 2016 cycle.

“The crisis that faces our country calls for leadership with proven character, a record of success and an ability to connect with all Americans,” Miller said in a statement issued by the Bullock campaign. “Gov. Bullock can win the Democratic nomination, beat Donald Trump, and repair our nation — and I will be there at every step to help how I can.”

Miller in the statement praised Bullock for his “progressive vision” and proving “that America is stronger when we unite.”

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In a video released by the campaign, Miller said he knows better than to tell Iowans for whom to caucus, but encouraged them to give Bullock a chance and listen to his message.

Bullock in the statement said he looks forward to campaigning with Miller and “taking our shared value of fighting for the rights of every American across Iowa and the country.”

Miller is one of three statewide elected Democrats in Iowa, along with longtime treasurer Mike Fitzgerald and newly minted auditor Rob Sand. Neither of them has endorsed any of the 24 Democrats running for president, nor has any of Iowa’s three Democrats serving in the U.S. House — Dave Loebsack, Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne.

“What takes it over the top for me,” Miller said in backing Bullock, “is his ability to connect with people. He connects with people better than anybody I’ve seen out here running for president except Barack and Bill Clinton. Personable, listens, understands, relates to people and that’s what he used to get elected in a state that’s a red state, that’s a rural state. I think he would be terrific with rural voters and working-class voters in Iowa and he will be a very strong candidate in the general election if he gets the nomination.”

Miller will join Bullock on his three-day, eight-stop tour of Iowa this week, which will mark his first visit to the state as an official presidential candidate.

Gov. Bullock’s stops

Thursday

• 6:30 p.m. — Des Moines meet-and-greet at Confluence Brewing Co., 1235 Thomas Beck Rd.

Friday

• 9 a.m. — Newton meet-and-greet at Uncle Nancy’s Coffeehouse, 114 N. Second Ave. W

• Noon — Tama tour of Meskwaki Settlement and meet with Tribal community at Meskwaki Tribal Gym, 349 Meskwaki Rd. Miller is not listed to attend this event.

• 3 p.m. — Independence meet-and-greet at Erm’s Coffee Co., 324 First St. E

• 6:30 p.m. — Dubuque meet and greet at Smokestack, 62 E Seventh St.

Saturday

• 9 a.m. — Maquoketa meet-and-greet at Maquoketa Public Library, 126 Second St.

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• 11 a.m. — Clinton meet-and-greet at Gateway Area Community Center, 1850 S. Bluff Blvd.

• 2 p.m. — Davenport meet-and-greet at Baked Beer and Bread Co., 1113 Mound St.

• Comments: (563) 383-2492; erin.murphy@lee.net

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