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
Relatives Jay Owenhouse (Brother-in-law)[1]
Education Montana State University (BS)
Website Senate website

Steven David Daines (born August 20, 1962) is an American entrepreneur and politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Montana since 2015. He previously was the U.S. Representative for Montana's at-large congressional district from 2013 to 2015. In the 2014 midterm election, he won an open seat, defeating Democrat Amanda Curtis.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.[10][11][12]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2012 election[edit]

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[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

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

U.S. Senate[edit]

2014 election[edit]

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 June 3, 2014, Republican primary, 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]

Daines became the first Republican to hold the seat since 1913.

Committee assignments[edit]


Balanced Budget & No Budget, No Pay[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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] Daines has also pledged to "block" any legislation that poses a threat to Second Amendment rights.[38] 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.[39]

Energy and natural resource development[edit]

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." [40][41] Daines co-sponsored the "Northern Route Approval Act" which would allow for congressional approval of the Keystone pipeline[42] Daines has expressed strong support of Montana's coal industry[43] and oil production in eastern Montana and the Bakken formation.[44]

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.[45][46] 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.[47]

North Fork Watershed Protection Act[edit]

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.[48][49] The law would forbid mountaintop removal mining and other natural resource development.[49] The affected lands lie adjacent to Glacier National Park and already have some protections.[48] 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.[49] According to Daines, both conservationists and energy companies support the bill.[49] 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.[50][51]


Daines supported the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill which reauthorizes nutrition and agriculture programs for the years 2014-2018.[52]


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.[53]

National security[edit]

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."[54]

Elizabeth Warren[edit]

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.[55] 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.[56] 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.[55] 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.[57] Senator Daines "carefully repeated the language of Rule 19" while censuring Senator Warren.[57]

Senate rules[edit]

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".[58]

Personal life[edit]

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.[5]

In 2009, his sister, Susan Marie Owenhouse, passed away after a long battle with primary sclerosis cholangitis at the age of 43. She left behind her husband of 22 years, magician Jay Owenhouse, and their four children.[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. if necessary.[59] Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) during the final confirmation vote, voted "present" as a pair to Daines who would've cancelled her vote if he had been present at the vote.[60]

Electoral history[edit]

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%


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "Montana Primary Results: John Walsh, Steve Daines Win Senate Nominations". Huffington Post. June 3, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "On Cusp of Historic GOP Win, Daines Seeks To Moderate His Positions". MTPR. October 9, 2014.
  4. ^ "Daines' official House biography". February 23, 2014. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Republican Daines seeks to take ambitions to D.C". Billings Gazette. Associated Press. October 21, 2012.
  6. ^ "Steve Daines". National Journal. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Staff (May 6, 2014). "Steve Daines". Helena Independent Record. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  8. ^ CHARLES S. JOHNSON of the Missoulian State Bureau (February 27, 2008). "It's a Brown-Daines ticket for governor". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  9. ^ Schontzler, Gail (February 24, 2014). "Daines stresses jobs". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  11. ^ Johnson, Charles S. (November 6, 2008). "Schweitzer looks ahead to goals of second term". Independent Record. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  12. ^ "Our Campaigns - MT Governor Race - Nov 04, 2008". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  13. ^ Bureau, CHARLES S. JOHNSON Gazette State. "Republican Daines announces U.S. Senate bid". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  14. ^ "Factual and Legal Analysis" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. September 7, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  15. ^ Bozeman's Steve Daines comments on switching from Senate to House race | | Butte, Montana
  16. ^ "Our Campaigns - MT At-Large - R Primary Race - Jun 05, 2012". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 21, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  18. ^ "Our Campaigns - MT - At-Large Race - Nov 06, 2012". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  19. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 5, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  20. ^ Joseph, Cameron. "NRSC fundraiser fuels speculation of Senate bid for Daines in Montana". The Hill. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  21. ^ Burns, Alexander. "Mont. Rep. Steve Daines bumps up fundraising". Politico. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  22. ^ "". Press Releases. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  23. ^ Johnson, Charles S. "Gov. Bullock appoints Walsh to finish Baucus' term in U.S. Senate". Missoulian. February 7, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  24. ^ Camia, Catalina. "Montana gov taps John Walsh to replace Baucus in Senate". USA Today. February 7, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  25. ^ Eilperin, Juliet, and Sean Sullivan. "Three reasons why the White House is sending Max Baucus to China". The Fix (Washington Post). December 18, 2013. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  26. ^ "2014 Statewide Primary Election Canvass" Archived July 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., p. 2. Montana Secretary of State. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  27. ^ Dennison, Mike. "Surprise U.S. Senate candidate Susan Cundiff approaching campaign 'one step at a time'". Billings Gazette. May 5, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  28. ^ "Walsh wins Montana Democratic U.S. Senate primary". Great Falls Tribune. June 3, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  29. ^ Cates, Kristen. "Montana Democrats choose Amanda Curtis to replace Walsh". Great Falls Tribune. August 18, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-12.
  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.
  31. ^ "Republican Steve Daines Defeats Amanda Curtis in Montana Senate Race". U.S. News and World Report. November 4, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  32. ^ "Montana Secretary of State 2014 General Election". Montana Secretary of State. November 4, 2014. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  33. ^ Press, Associated. "Daines says his first bill seeks balanced federal budget". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  34. ^ "Final Vote Result for Roll Call 30". Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Congressman Steve Daines : Press Releases : Daines: Senate Gun Control Proposals Threaten Montanans' Second Amendment Rights". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  37. ^ CNN, By Ted Barrett and Tom Cohen. "Senate rejects expanded gun background checks -". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  38. ^ "Congressman Steve Daines : Press Releases : DAINES: HOUSE MUST STAND FIRM AGAINST THREATS TO SECOND AMENDMENT". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  39. ^ "Deadeye" Daines dons red vest, hits the range | | Q2 | Billings, Montana
  40. ^ "Congressman Steve Daines : Press Releases : DAINES: OBAMA'S WAR ON ENERGY HURTS MONTANA JOBS". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  41. ^ Press, Associated. "Daines rips Obama climate change proposal". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  42. ^ "Bill Summary & Status - 113th Congress (2013 - 2014) - H.R.3 - Cosponsors - THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  43. ^ "Congressman Steve Daines : In the News : Associated Press: U.S. Rep. Daines signals support for coal mine, logging". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  44. ^ Herald, Sarah Bloom Sidney. "Daines tours oil-related businesses". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  45. ^ "Timber leader decries 'endless litigation'". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  46. ^ Daines visits Livingston lumber mill to address lumber shortage | | Z7 | Bozeman, Montana
  47. ^ "Congressman Steve Daines : Press Releases : Daines Co-Sponsors Legislation To Restore Active Forest Management, Help Schools & Counties". Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  48. ^ a b "CBO - H.R. 2259". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  49. ^ a b c d Scott, Tristan (March 30, 2013). "Daines to introduce legislation protecting North Fork Flathead". Missoulian. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  50. ^ Scott, Tristan (March 4, 2014). "North Fork Watershed Protection Act Passes U.S. House". Flathead Beacon. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  51. ^ Walsh, John (April 3, 2014). "Walsh Disappointed that Senate Fails to Pass Landmark Conservation Bill to Protect North Fork". Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  52. ^ Banks, Marnee (January 30, 2014). "Farm Bill could bring certainty to Montana farmers".
  53. ^ "Little appetite for Internet sales tax bill in House yet: co-sponsor". Marketwatch. June 19, 2013.
  54. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  55. ^ a b Kane, Paul; O'Keefe, Ed (February 8, 2017). "Republicans vote to rebuke Elizabeth Warren, saying she impugned Session's character". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  56. ^ McCann, Erin (February 8, 2017). "Coretta Scott King's 1986 Statement to the Senate About Jeff Sessions". The New York Times. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  57. ^ a b Lutey, Tom (February 8, 2017). "Daines stands by decision to gavel down Warren". Billings Gazette. Archived from the original on February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  58. ^ Bolton, Alexander. "GOP faces internal battle over changing Senate rules". The Hill. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  59. ^
  60. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 115th Congress - 2nd Session". U.S. Senate. U.S. Government Publishing Office. October 6, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2018.

External links[edit]

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
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tom Cotton
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Mike Rounds