Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, the last-standing governor in the crowded Democratic presidential primary, will appear on a CNN town hall this Sunday at 4 p.m. local time.
Bullock is one of about 20 candidates seeking his party's nominee to run for president. He joined the race much later than the rest of the field, in mid-May after the state Legislature wrapped up its work.
He's struggled to get much traction in the polls, which he attributes to his late entry. And it appears that, though he made the cut for the July debates, he will not meet the higher qualifications to appear in the upcoming Democratic National Committee debate in September.
In lieu of that exposure to millions of voters, Bullock has zeroed his campaign strategy in on the retail politics of Iowa, the state that holds the first-in-the-nation caucus in February.
“These DNC debate rules have turned this primary into the The Hunger Games — each step of this seems to be all about getting donors,” Bullock said on CNN Friday. “I've made 10 trips to Iowa, I’ve been to New Hampshire a couple of times — I’m actually talking to voters, not just chasing $1 donors."
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It also places an emphasized role on his appearance in the CNN town hall, which will put his face and name in front of a large national audience.
University of Montana political analyst and professor Lee Banville said Friday that Bullock may have had his lane in the primary open up with the exits of former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is now running for U.S. Senate, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
“I think it creates a window of opportunity for him,” Banville said, adding that by being the only governor left, Bullock can argue he has executive experience and has been able to accomplish tangible things as leader of a state seen by national media as red but on the ground looks much more purple.
“He has that argument to himself, but the problem is, is that enough of an argument at this point?” Banville said. "Two other people who were making that argument have dropped out."
CNN host Alisyn Camerota will moderate Bullock's debate. CNN is asking voters to submit questions. This is the 25th town hall the network has held with presidential candidates, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear in one right after Bullock.