Steve Daines

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Steve Daines
Steve Daines official Senate portrait.jpg
United States Senator
from Montana
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Serving with Jon Tester
Preceded by John Walsh
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's At-large district
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Denny Rehberg
Succeeded by Ryan Zinke
Personal details
Born Steven David Daines
(1962-08-20) August 20, 1962 (age 56)
Van Nuys, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cindy Daines
Children 4
Alma mater Montana State University,
Religion Presbyterianism
Website Senate website
Campaign website

Steven David "Steve" Daines (born August 20, 1962) is an American businessman and Republican politician who is the junior United States Senator from Montana. He was the United States Representative for Montana's at-large congressional district from 2013 to 2015. In the 2014 election, he won an open U.S. Senate seat, defeating Democrat Amanda Curtis.[1]

Early life and education

Daines was born in Van Nuys, California,[2] the son of Sharon R. (née Erickson) and Clair W. Daines.[3] He moved to Montana with his parents when he was two years old.[4] He was raised in Bozeman, Montana where he attended school from kindergarten through college.[5]

Although born in California, he asserts that he is a fifth-generation Montanan, based on having a direct family line of people who have lived in Montana since his great-great-grandmother Karine Dyrud immigrated from Norway to Minnesota in 1869, and later moved to Montana. Both his parents grew up in Billings, Montana, and returned to Montana to start their own home-construction business.[6]

Daines graduated from Bozeman High School, where he served as class president.[4] He earned a bachelor of science degree in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University.

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.”[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[4] 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.[4]

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 Governor Brian Schweitzer and his running mate John Bohlinger. Brown/Daines lost the election 65%-33%, winning 7 of Montana's 56 counties.[11][12][13]

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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16] Daines won the 3-candidate Republican primary with 71% of the vote.[17][18] In the general election, he defeated Democratic State Senator Kim Gillan, 53%-43%. He won 48 of the state's 56 counties.[19][20]

Committee assignments

Caucus Memberships

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

U.S. Senate

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.[21] Additional anticipation that he would run was fueled when he disclosed fundraising of $415,000 in the second quarter of 2013.[22] On November 6, 2013, Daines announced his candidacy.[23]

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.[24][25][26]

Daines won the June 3, 2014 Republican primary, obtaining 83.4% of the vote to defeat Missoula state representative Champ Edmunds and political newcomer Susan Cundiff.[27][28] Walsh won the Democratic primary with 64% of the vote.[29]

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 master's-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.[30][31][32]

Daines won the general election, securing 57.8% of the vote to Curtis's 40.1%.[33]

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.[34] 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.[35]

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.[36]

Second Amendment Issues

Daines has been vocal in his support for Second Amendment rights. Daines has called the Senate legislation to expand background checks the “the wrong approach”[37] and has been a vocal opponent of the bill, which failed to pass the Senate in April.[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, Mont. 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 & 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]

North Fork Watershed Protection Act

On June 5, 2013, Daines introduced the North Fork Watershed Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 2259; 113th Congress) which would withdraw 430,000 acres of federal lands in Montana from programs to develop geothermal and mineral resources.[49][50] The law would forbid mountaintop removal mining and other natural resource development.[50] The affected lands lie adjacent to Glacier National Park and already have some protections.[49] Rep. Daines emphasized his desire "to rise above partisan politics, preserve the prestine landscape, and 'protect this critical watershed'," when he announced that he would be introducing the bill.[50] According to Daines, both conservationists and energy companies support the bill.[50] 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.[51][52]


Daines supported the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill which reauthorizes nutrition and agriculture programs for the years 2014-2018.[53]


Daines has vocally 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.[54]

Personal life

Daines and his wife Cindy live in Bozeman with their four children: David, Annie, Michael and Caroline. Daines and his family are actively involved in community volunteer organizations and enjoy backpacking, hunting, skiing and fishing. Daines enjoys mountain-climbing and has scaled Granite Peak and Grand Teton.[4]


  1. "Montana Primary Results: John Walsh, Steve Daines Win Senate Nominations". Huffington Post. June 3, 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "On Cusp of Historic GOP Win, Daines Seeks To Moderate His Positions". MTPR. October 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. [1]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Republican Daines seeks to take ambitions to D.C". Billings Gazette. Associated Press. October 21, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Daines' official House biography". February 23, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "About Steve". Retrieved June 8, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Steve Daines". National Journal. Retrieved June 8, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Staff (2014-05-06). "Steve Daines". Helena Independent Record. Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. CHARLES S. JOHNSON of the Missoulian State Bureau (2008-02-27). "It's a Brown-Daines ticket for governor". Retrieved 2014-08-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Schontzler, Gail (February 24, 2014). "Daines stresses jobs". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Retrieved June 8, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Johnson, Charles S. (6 November 2008). "Schweitzer looks ahead to goals of second term". Independent Record. Retrieved 25 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Our Campaigns - MT Governor Race - Nov 04, 2008
  14. Republican Daines announces U.S. Senate bid
  15. "Factual and Legal Analysis" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. September 7, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Bozeman's Steve Daines comments on switching from Senate to House race | | Butte, Montana
  17. Our Campaigns - MT At-Large - R Primary Race - Jun 05, 2012
  19. Our Campaigns - MT - At-Large Race - Nov 06, 2012
  21. Joseph, Cameron. "NRSC fundraiser fuels speculation of Senate bid for Daines in Montana". The Hill. Retrieved 16 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Burns, Alexander. "Mont. Rep. Steve Daines bumps up fundraising". Politico. Retrieved 16 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "". Press Releases. Retrieved 7 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Johnson, Charles S. "Gov. Bullock appoints Walsh to finish Baucus' term in U.S. Senate". Missoulian. 2014-02-07. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  25. Camia, Catalina. "Montana gov taps John Walsh to replace Baucus in Senate". USA Today. 2014-02-07. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  26. Eilperin, Juliet, and Sean Sullivan. "Three reasons why the White House is sending Max Baucus to China". The Fix (Washington Post). 2013-12-18. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  27. "2014 Statewide Primary Election Canvass", p. 2. Montana Secretary of State. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  28. Dennison, Mike. "Surprise U.S. Senate candidate Susan Cundiff approaching campaign 'one step at a time'". Billings Gazette. 2014-05-05. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  29. "Walsh wins Montana Democratic U.S. Senate primary". Great Falls Tribune. 2014-06-03. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  30. Cates, Kristen. "Montana Democrats choose Amanda Curtis to replace Walsh". Great Falls Tribune. 2014-08-18. Retrieved 2015-01-12.
  31. Adams, John S., and Jenn Rowell. "War College revokes Sen. John Walsh's master's degree". Great Falls Tribune. 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  32. "Republican Steve Daines Defeats Amanda Curtis in Montana Senate Race". U.S. News and World Report. 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  33. "Montana Secretary of State 2014 General Election". Montana Secretary of State. November 4, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. Daines says his first bill seeks balanced federal budget
  35. "Final Vote Result for Roll Call 30". Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 6 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Congressman Steve Daines : Press Releases : Daines: Senate Gun Control Proposals Threaten Montanans' Second Amendment Rights
  38. Senate rejects expanded gun background checks -
  40. "Deadeye" Daines dons red vest, hits the range | | Q2 | Billings, Montana
  41. Congressman Steve Daines : Press Releases : DAINES: OBAMA'S WAR ON ENERGY HURTS MONTANA JOBS
  42. Daines rips Obama climate change proposal
  43. Bill Summary & Status - 113th Congress (2013 - 2014) - H.R.3 - Cosponsors - THOMAS (Library of Congress)
  44. Congressman Steve Daines : In the News : Associated Press: U.S. Rep. Daines signals support for coal mine, logging
  45. Daines tours oil-related businesses - Sidney Herald: News
  46. Timber leader decries ‘endless litigation’ - Daily Inter Lake: Local/Montana
  47. Daines visits Livingston lumber mill to address lumber shortage | | Z7 | Bozeman, Montana
  48. Congressman Steve Daines : Press Releases : Daines Co-Sponsors Legislation To Restore Active Forest Management, Help Schools & Counties
  49. 49.0 49.1 "CBO - H.R. 2259". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 2 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 Scott, Tristan (30 March 2013). "Daines to introduce legislation protecting North Fork Flathead". Missoulian. Retrieved 4 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  51. Scott, Tristan (March 4, 2014). "North Fork Watershed Protection Act Passes U.S. House". Flathead Beacon. Retrieved June 6, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  52. Walsh, John (April 3, 2014). "Walsh Disappointed that Senate Fails to Pass Landmark Conservation Bill to Protect North Fork". Retrieved June 6, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  53. Banks, Marnee (January 30, 2014). "Farm Bill could bring certainty to Montana farmers".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  54. "Little appetite for Internet sales tax bill in House yet: co-sponsor". Marketwatch. June 19, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

United States 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
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Walsh
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Montana
Served alongside: Jon Tester
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tom Cotton
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Mike Rounds