Official portrait, 2019
|United States Senator|
|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
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Denny Rehberg|
|Succeeded by||Ryan Zinke|
Steven David Daines
August 20, 1962
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Relatives||Jay Owenhouse (brother-in-law)|
|Education||Montana State University (BS)|
Steven David Daines (born August 20, 1962) is an American businessman and politician serving as the junior United States Senator for Montana since 2015. A Republican, he served as the U.S. Representative for Montana's at-large congressional district from 2013 to 2015. In 2014, Daines won an open seat in the U.S. Senate. He previously worked for Procter & Gamble and RightNow Technologies. Daines is currently running for reelection in 2020, against Governor of Montana Steve Bullock.
Early life and education
Daines was born in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles, to Sharon R. and Clair W. Daines. The family moved to Montana in 1964. He was raised in Bozeman, where he attended school from kindergarten through college.
Daines graduated from Bozeman High School, where he served as student body president. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Montana State University. While at Montana State, he became a brother of Sigma Nu.
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." Daines was also the president of MSU College Republicans. In 2007, he and his wife started a web site called GiveItBack.com, which urged governor Brian Schweitzer to return the state's $1 billion surplus to the taxpayers. From 2007 to 2008, he served as Montana state chairman for Republican Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign and as a national surrogate for Huckabee.
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. During Daine's 2014 Senate campaign, Democratic opponents alleged that Daines had outsourced 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.
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. 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 for Congress full-time.
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 and Daines lost the election 65%–33%, winning only 7 of Montana's 56 counties.
U.S. House of Representatives
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. Daines won the 3-candidate Republican primary with 71% of the vote. In the general election, he defeated Democratic state senator Kim Gillan, 53%–43%. He won 48 of the state's 56 counties.
- Committee on Homeland Security
- Committee on Natural Resources
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- Congressional Western Caucus
- Congressional Rural Caucus
- Republican Study Committee
- NW Energy Caucus
- Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus
In July 2013, Daines attended a NRSC fundraiser in Washington and raised speculation that he would run for Max Baucus' soon to be vacant U.S. Senate seat. In the second quarter of 2013, Daines disclosed raising $415,000 in campaign funds, fueling more speculation of a Senate bid. On November 6, 2013, Daines announced his candidacy.
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.
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. Walsh won the Democratic primary with 64% of the vote.
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.
Daines won the general election, securing 57.8% of the vote to Curtis's 40.1%.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Defense
- Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
- Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
- Committee on Finance
- Committee on Indian Affairs
- Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (2015-2017)
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (2017-2019)
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (2017-2019)
Daines opposes legalized abortion except to protect the life of the mother.
Budget and taxes
Daines introduced his first bill, the Balanced Budget Accountability Act in February 2013. Daines' bill would have required Congress to pass a budget that would balance in ten years or have their pay terminated. Daines supported the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013, 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.
Daines has opposed an internet sales tax, which would allow states to collect taxes on online sales. He has called legislation to provide the authority as "a job-killing tax hike that hurts American small businesses."
In June 2020, Daines argued against statehood for the District of Columbia stating that most Americans oppose D.C. statehood and suggesting that members of Congress "get out of this city, go out to where the real people are at across our country and ask them what they think." Critics objected to Daines's implication that D.C., a city of more than 705,000 residents, nearly half of whom are Black, are not "real people". Further pressed, Daines explained that people outside of the D.C. "bubble" oppose statehood, while those in D.C. are in favor of statehood.
In the 2018–19 United States federal government shutdown, when Congress would not meet Trump's demand for $5.7 billion in federal funds for a U.S.–Mexico border wall, Daines voted for a bill that put $5.7 billion towards the border wall and he voted against a bill that would have funded the government without putting resources towards a wall.
Daines voted to acquit Trump in the impeachment trial of Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to his request of Ukraine to announce an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden. Daines said Trump had not committed any crimes, that Democrats had "not done their complete homework", and that it was the most partisan impeachment trial in history. Daines said that the purpose of the impeachment was to "[overturn] the election of 2016 and [try] to define the election of 2020." During the impeachment trial, Daines voted to block the Senate from subpoenaing documents from the White House and compelling witnesses to testify.
Daines praised President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying in May 2020, "I think he's done a good job, I do. The president prepared for the worst, and thankfully we're starting to see declines in infection rates and now it's time to start safely opening up the economy." Daines praised Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying in August 2020 that he "led boldly," and in September 2020 that his "leadership saved a lot of American lives."
In June 2020, amid protests against racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death, Daines defended President Trump's decision to disperse protestors with a chemical irritant so that he could stage a photo op in front of St. John's Church. Daines said he was "grateful for the president's leadership."
Daines has proposed abolishing the United States Department of Education and in 2019 co-authored the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act, to allow state and local governments to withdraw from federal education requirements.
Energy and environment
Daines 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." Daines co-sponsored the Northern Route Approval Act which would allow for congressional approval of the Keystone pipeline. Daines expressed strong support of Montana's coal industry and oil production in eastern Montana and the Bakken formation.
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. The law would forbid mountaintop removal mining and other natural resource development. The affected lands lie adjacent to Glacier National Park and already have some protections. 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. According to Daines, both conservationists and energy companies support the bill. 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.
Daines has also called for the need for litigation reforms to allow more logging in Montana's forests. In April 2016, 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.
In July 2019, Daines co-founded 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.
In August 2017, Daines co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (s. 720), which made it a federal crime, punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories if protesting actions by the Israeli government.
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.
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.
In January 2020, Daines expressed support for the US military's assassination of Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani by drone strike at the Baghdad International Airport.
Daines opposes gun control legislation. He has signaled opposition to proposals for expanded background checks and red flag laws, saying he doesn't believe such legislation would successfully reduce gun violence.
Daines opposes allowing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients – undocumented minors brought into the United States – to apply for temporary protection to stay in the United States.
Internet and technology
Daines opposes net neutrality and praised its 2017 repeal by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In May 2018, Daines voted against legislation that would have overturned the FCC's ruling and restored net neutrality.
In May 2020, Daines co-sponsored an amendment with Ron Wyden (D–Oregon) that would have required federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies to obtain federal court warrants when collecting web search engine data from American citizens, nationals, or residents under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
In May 2018, Daines announced his support for the so-called nuclear option "to speed up consideration of President Trump's judicial nominees." Daines has argued that changing the Senate's rules to a simple majority vote would "ensure a quicker pace on Trump's court picks."
In September 2020, after the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Daines supported moving forward with President Trump's nominee to fill the vacancy on the court prior to the upcoming presidential election. Daines tweeted that he wanted to "protect our Montana way of life". In March 2016, after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Daines said President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court should not be considered by the Senate, as the "American people have already begun voting on who the next president will be," and that Americans should "have their voices heard" on this issue via the presidential election.
On October 4, 2018, Daines publicly announced he would be walking his daughter 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. Kavanaugh was confirmed 50–48.
|Montana Governor/Lieutenant Governor Republican primary election, 2008|
|Republican||Roy Brown/Steve Daines||65,883||80.81%|
|Republican||Larry Steele/Harold Luce||15,643||19.19%|
|Montana Governor/Lieutenant Governor election, 2008|
|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|
|Montana's at-large congressional district election, 2012|
|U.S. Senate Republican primary election in Montana, 2014|
|U.S. Senate election in Montana, 2014|
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- Notable Sigma Nu members
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- Zaslav, Ali; Byrd, Haley (July 1, 2020). "Senate Republicans fiercely oppose DC statehood as political 'power grab'". CNN. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
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- Everett, Burgess; Bresnahan, John (May 6, 2020). "Republicans praise Trump's pandemic response with Senate majority at risk". Politico. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Steve Daines.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Steve Daines|
- U.S. Senator Steve Daines official U.S. Senate website
- Steve Daines for U.S. Senate
- Steve Daines at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's at-large congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Montana
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Montana
| U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Montana
Served alongside: Jon Tester
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority
|113th||Senate: M. Baucus (until Feb. 2014) • J. Tester • J. Walsh (from Feb. 2017)||House: S. Daines|
|114th||Senate: J. Tester • S. Daines||House: R. Zinke|
|115th||Senate: J. Tester • S. Daines||House: R. Zinke (until Mar. 2017) • G. Gianforte (from Jun. 2017)|