Daines and Bullock Debate

Montana PBS

MISSOULA, Mont. - Sen. Steve Daines faced off against Gov. Steve Bullock in a debate in Missoula Monday night.

Both Senate candidates met on the debate stage without a live audience, just two weeks before mail-in ballots are set to be sent out on October 9.  Sen. Daines and Gov. Bullock both talked about putting Montanans first.

The first topic was the recent Supreme Court justice nomination from President Donald Trump. Daines said liberal judges under Steve Bullock would stop timber and energy projects in Montana.

The governor countered, and said Daines flipped his stance on the nomination before the election to protect other interests.

Another big topic was the Second Amendment. Sen. Daines argued more gun control would not have stopped mass casualty events in the country and more resources need to go towards mental health and schools. Gov. Bullock said 80% of Montanans are for background checks and a quarter of the times he's had to lower flags in the state, it's been because of mass shootings.

Both candidates weighed in on wearing a mask as well:

"We should focus on senior citizens and those who have compromised immune systems," Daines said. "I really believe that would be a choice of personal responsibility, and that's something that should be left in the hands, frankly, of our communities, and not having a federal mandate or a state mandate."

"If the Senator had his way, you're right, there probably wouldn't be any requirements for masks," Bullock said. "I don't strive to be South Dakota. When I see over 100 people dead from this, every one of those should weigh on all Montanans."

Currently, the U.S. Senate is made up of 53 Republicans and 45 Democrats. Democrats would need to win four additional seats in November to have a 51 seat majority.

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