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Steve Daines
Steve Daines, Official Portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Montana
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Serving with Jon Tester
Preceded byJohn Walsh
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's at-large district
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
Preceded byDenny Rehberg
Succeeded byRyan Zinke
Personal details
Steven David Daines

(1962-08-20) August 20, 1962 (age 58)
Van Nuys, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Cindy Daines
RelativesJay Owenhouse (brother-in-law)[1]
EducationMontana State University (BS)
WebsiteSenate website

Steven David Daines (born August 20, 1962) is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Montana since 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as the U.S. Representative for Montana's at-large congressional district from 2013 to 2015. In the 2014 Senate election, Daines won an open seat, defeating Democratic nominee Amanda Curtis.[2]

Early life and education

Daines was born in Van Nuys, California,[3] to Sharon R. and Clair W. Daines. The family moved to Montana in 1964. He was raised in Bozeman, Montana where he attended school from kindergarten through college.[4]

Daines graduated from Bozeman High School, where he served as student body president.[5] He earned a bachelor of science degree in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University. His high school partner in Policy Debate was United States Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.[citation needed]

Early political involvement

In his senior year, he was one of the youngest delegates at the 1984 Republican National Convention. "I was a big fan of Ronald Reagan. He was the first president I got to vote for."[6] Daines was also the president of MSU College Republicans. In 2007, he and his wife started a web site called, which urged governor Brian Schweitzer to return the state's $1 billion surplus to the taxpayers. In 2007–08, he served as state chairman for Republican Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign and as a national surrogate for Huckabee.[7]

Business career

Daines spent 13 years with Procter & Gamble. After seven years managing operations in the United States, he moved his family to Hong Kong and China for six years opening factories to expand Procter & Gamble's Asian business.[8] During the 2014 campaign, this period became a campaign issue, with the Montana Democratic Party stating that he assisted the company in outsourcing U.S. jobs to China. Daines responded to this charge by saying that he created hundreds of jobs in Montana when he worked for RightNow Technologies.[9] In 1997, Daines left Procter & Gamble to join the family construction business in Bozeman. Three years later, Daines met Greg Gianforte, founder of RightNow Technologies, and was put in charge of running RightNow's customer care division.[5] Daines went on to become Vice President of North America Sales and Vice President of the Asia-Pacific division. During his tenure, the cloud-based software company became a publicly traded company and Bozeman's largest commercial employer. Daines remained with the company until March 2012, when he left to campaign full-time.[5]

2008 gubernatorial election

Daines campaigned for Lieutenant Governor of Montana in 2008, running on the ticket with Roy Brown, the Republican nominee for Governor. They challenged incumbent Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer and his running mate John Bohlinger. Brown/Daines lost the election 65%–33%, winning 7 of Montana's 56 counties.[10][11][12]

U.S. House of Representatives

2012 election

On November 13, 2010, Daines announced he would run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Jon Tester in 2012.[13] That year, a complaint was filed with the Federal Election Commission against Daines by the Montana Democratic Party, alleging that a radio ad he had run on behalf of a pro-life organization called Common Sense Issues (CSI) was illegal campaign activity. The complaint was later dismissed on September 7, 2011, as Daines had not at that time actually filed as a candidate for any federal office.[14] When U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg announced his intention to challenge Tester, Daines dropped out of the Senate race and announced his candidacy for the open House seat vacated by Rehberg.[15] Daines won the 3-candidate Republican primary with 71% of the vote.[16][17] In the general election, he defeated Democratic State Senator Kim Gillan, 53%–43%. He won 48 of the state's 56 counties.[18][19]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

  • Congressional Western Caucus
  • Congressional Rural Caucus
  • Republican Study Committee
  • NW Energy Caucus
  • Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus

U.S. Senate

Daines' freshman portrait (114th Congress)
Daines' freshman portrait (114th Congress)

2014 election

In July 2013, Daines attended a NRSC fundraiser in Washington that raised speculation that he would run for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Max Baucus.[20] Additional anticipation that he would run was fueled when he disclosed fundraising of $415,000 in the second quarter of 2013.[21] On November 6, 2013, Daines announced his candidacy.[22]

In February 2014, Baucus resigned from the Senate to accept a post as U.S. ambassador to China. Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, appointed lieutenant governor John Walsh to the vacant Senate seat for the remainder of Baucus's term. Walsh had already declared his intention of running for the Senate in the 2014 election, and it was suggested that his appointment by Bullock might give him the advantage of incumbency, thus improving Democratic chances of holding the seat.[23][24][25]

Daines won the Republican primary on June 3, 2014, obtaining 83.4% of the vote to defeat Missoula state representative Champ Edmunds and political newcomer Susan Cundiff.[26][27] Walsh won the Democratic primary with 64% of the vote.[28]

In August 2014, Walsh withdrew from the race following the publication of a New York Times article that accused him of plagiarism in a paper written as part of his masters degree work at the U.S. Army War College. With only 50 days left before the general election, a special convention called by the Montana Democratic party named one-term Butte legislator Amanda Curtis to run in place of Walsh.[29][30][31]

Daines won the general election, securing 57.8% of the vote to Curtis's 40.1%.[32]

Committee assignments


Balanced Budget & No Budget, No Pay

Daines introduced his first bill, the "Balanced Budget Accountability Act," in February 2013. Daines' bill would require Congress to pass a budget that would balance in 10 years or have their pay terminated.[33] Daines also voted in support of No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 (Public Law 113-3) which required both chambers of Congress to pass a budget by April 15, 2013, or the salaries of Members of that chamber would be put in an escrow account.[34]

Violence Against Women Act

In February 2013, Daines voted in support of the Violence Against Women Act, which passed the House with 199 House Democratic and 87 House Republican votes.[35]

Gun law

Daines has been vocal in his support for Second Amendment rights. In 2013, he called the Senate legislation to expand background checks "the wrong approach"[36] and has been a vocal opponent of the bill, which failed to pass the Senate that April.[37] He opposes any restrictions on gun purchases.[38] Daines has also pledged to "block" any legislation that poses a threat to Second Amendment rights.[39] In an April tour of a Billings, Montana, sporting goods shop and shooting range, Daines adopted the nickname "Dead-Eye Daines" after reaffirming his opposition to gun control measures and demonstrating his marksmanship skills.[40]

Energy and natural resource development

Daines has criticized President Barack Obama for the Obama administration's positions on natural resource development, calling the President's June 2013 climate change proposal a "job killer" and a "war on American energy."[41][42] Daines co-sponsored the "Northern Route Approval Act" which would allow for congressional approval of the Keystone pipeline.[43] Daines has expressed strong support of Montana's coal industry[44] and oil production in eastern Montana and the Bakken formation.[45]

Daines has also called for the need for litigation reforms to clear the way for more active forest management and the revitalization of Montana's timber industry.[46][47] In April, Daines signed on to the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, legislation to address the expiration of the Secure Rural Schools program by renewing the federal government's commitment to manage forest resources.[48]

In July 2019, Daines was one of nine lawmakers to become a founding member of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, a group of Republican members of Congress meant to focus on environmental issues with specific priorities including reducing water and ocean plastic pollution, and heightening access to public lands and waters in the United States for outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing.[49]

North Fork Watershed Protection Act

On June 5, 2013, Daines introduced the North Fork Watershed Protection Act of 2013 which would withdraw 430,000 acres of federal lands in Montana from programs to develop geothermal and mineral resources.[50][51] The law would forbid mountaintop removal mining and other natural resource development.[51] The affected lands lie adjacent to Glacier National Park and already have some protections.[50] Rep. Daines emphasized his desire "to rise above partisan politics, preserve the pristine landscape, and 'protect this critical watershed'," when he announced that he would be introducing the bill.[51] According to Daines, both conservationists and energy companies support the bill.[51] The bill, also supported by Tester and Walsh, passed in the House; but Senate Republicans prevented it from being voted on, killing it in the Senate.[52][53]


Daines supported the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill which reauthorizes nutrition and agriculture programs for the years 2014-2018.[54]


Daines has opposed an Internet sales tax, which would allow states to collect taxes on online sales. He has characterized legislation to provide the authority as "a job-killing tax hike that hurts American small businesses.[55]

National security

Daines supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that "We are at war with Islamic extremists and anything less than 100 percent verification of these refugees' backgrounds puts our national security at risk. We need to take the time to examine our existing programs to ensure terrorists aren't entering our country. The safety of U.S. citizens must be our number one priority."[56]

In January 2019, Daines was one of eleven Republican senators to vote to advance legislation intended to block President Trump's intent to lift sanctions against three Russian companies.[57]

In June 2019, Daines was one of eight senators to sign a letter to Premier of British Columbia John Horgan expressing concern over "the lack of oversight of Canadian mining projects near multiple transboundary rivers that originate in B.C. and flow into" U.S. states Alaska, Idaho, Washington, and Montana. The senators requested British Columbia replicate American efforts to protect watersheds.[58]

Elizabeth Warren

On February 8, 2017, Senator Daines, while presiding over the U.S. Senate invoked Rule 19 of the U.S. Senate to prevent Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) from reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King and first introduced during the 1986 U.S. Senate confirmation hearing for then-United States Attorney for Alabama Jeff Sessions to become a United States federal judge.[59] King's letter, addressed to Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC), describes a 1984 prosecution by Sessions of Albert Turner and other members of the Perry County Civic League for voting fraud.[60] Since Sessions was (in 2017) a sitting United States Senator (R-AL), the reading of the letter from 1986 during the 2017 confirmation hearing for Sessions's appointment as United States Attorney General would be impugning Senator Sessions.[59] Daines was assisted by Elizabeth MacDonough, the current Parliamentarian of the United States Senate, who read the language of Rule 19 to freshman Senator Daines.[61] Senator Daines "carefully repeated the language of Rule 19" while censuring Senator Warren.[61]

Senate rules

Daines is one of the Senate Republicans arguing in favor of the "nuclear option", "to speed up consideration of President Trump's nominees". Changing the Senate's rules to a simple majority vote would "ensure a quicker pace on Trump's court picks".[62]

Personal life

Daines and his wife Cindy live in Bozeman with their four children: David, Annie, Michael and Caroline. Daines and his family are involved in community volunteer organizations and enjoy backpacking, hunting, skiing and fishing. Daines enjoys mountain-climbing and has scaled Granite Peak and Grand Teton.[5]

In 2009, his sister, Susan Marie Owenhouse, died of primary sclerosing cholangitis. Owenhouse's husband was magician Jay Owenhouse.[1]

On October 4, 2018, Daines publicly announced he would be walking his daughter (Annie) down the aisle during her wedding on Saturday, October 6, 2018. This was the same day the US Senate was scheduled to vote on the confirmation of Federal Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to be the Supreme Court of the United States Associate Justice to replace the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Ultimately, Daines did not vote as the Republicans secured the necessary votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. However, fellow Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte offered his private plane to Daines in the event he needed to fly to Washington D.C.[63] Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48.[64]

Electoral history

Montana Governor/Lieutenant Governor Republican primary election, 2008
Party Candidates Votes % +%
Republican Roy Brown/Steve Daines 65,883 80.81%
Republican Larry Steele/Harold Luce 15,643 19.19%
Montana Governor/Lieutenant Governor election, 2008
Party Candidates Votes % +%
Democratic Brian Schweitzer/John Bohlinger 318,670 65.47%
Republican Roy Brown/Steve Daines 158,268 32.52%
Libertarian Stan Jones/Michael Baker 9,796 2.01%
Montana's at-large congressional district Republican primary election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Steve Daines 82,843 71.25%
Republican Eric Brosten 21,012 18.07%
Republican Vincent Melkus 12,420 10.68%
Montana's at-large congressional district election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Steve Daines 255,468 53.25%
Democratic Kim Gillan 204,939 42.72%
Libertarian David Kaiser 19,333 4.03%
U.S. Senate Republican primary election in Montana, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Steve Daines 110,565 83.37%
Republican Susan Cundiff 11,909 8.98%
Republican Champ Edmunds 10,151 7.65%
U.S. Senate election in Montana, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Steve Daines 213,709 57.79%
Democratic Amanda Curtis 148,184 40.07%
Libertarian Roger Roots 7,933 2.15%


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  26. ^ "2014 Statewide Primary Election Canvass" Archived July 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, p. 2. Montana Secretary of State. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
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  28. ^ "Walsh wins Montana Democratic U.S. Senate primary". Great Falls Tribune. June 3, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
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  30. ^ Adams, John S., and Jenn Rowell. "War College revokes Sen. John Walsh's master's degree". Great Falls Tribune. October 10, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
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  33. ^ Press, Associated. "Daines says his first bill seeks balanced federal budget". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
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  36. ^ "Congressman SteveDaines : Press Releases : Daines: Senate Gun Control Proposals Threaten Montanans' Second Amendment Rights". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
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External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Denny Rehberg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Ryan Zinke
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dave Lewis
Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
Jon Sonju
Preceded by
Robert Kelleher
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Montana
(Class 2)

Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
John Walsh
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Montana
Served alongside: Jon Tester
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tom Cotton
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Mike Rounds
This page was last edited on 18 July 2019, at 20:58
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