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.
|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
Van Nuys, California, U.S.
|Education||Montana State University (BS)|
Daines was born in Van Nuys, California, to Sharon R. and Clair W. Daines. Steve moved to Montana with his parents in 1964. He was raised in Bozeman, Montana 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. His high school partner in Policy Debate was United States Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.
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. In 2007–08, he served as 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 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. 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 full-time.
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.
On November 13, 2010, Daines announced he would run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Jon Tester in 2012. 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. 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.
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. Additional anticipation that he would run was fueled when he disclosed fundraising of $415,000 in the second quarter of 2013. 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 June 3, 2014, Republican primary, 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%.
Daines became the first Republican to hold the seat since 1913.
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. 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.
Daines has been vocal in his support for Second Amendment rights. Daines has called the Senate legislation to expand background checks "the wrong approach" and has been a vocal opponent of the bill, which failed to pass the Senate in April. Daines has also pledged to "block" any legislation that poses a threat to Second Amendment rights. 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.
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."  Daines co-sponsored the "Northern Route Approval Act" which would allow for congressional approval of the Keystone pipeline Daines has expressed strong support of Montana's coal industry and oil production in eastern Montana and the Bakken formation.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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 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.
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.”
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 Coretta Scott King wrote about then-United States Attorney for Alabama Jeff Sessions during the 1986 U.S. Senate confirmation hearing for Sessions's appointment as a United States federal judge. 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. 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. 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. Senator Daines "carefully repeated the language of Rule 19" while censuring Senator Warren.
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".
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.
|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|
|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
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority