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Montana governor: Dems will lose midterms if 'just a referendum' on Trump

Montana governor: Dems will lose midterms if 'just a referendum' on Trump

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) on Wednesday said Democrats will lose the November midterm elections if they make them "just a referendum" on President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE.

The red-state Democrat told ABC's "Powerhouse Politics" podcast that negative messaging about the president is not enough to win tight races.

"It’s not enough from my perspective just to be against him," said Bullock, the head of the National Governors Association. "It’s got to be what we are for."

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Bullock's comments come as Democrats seek to flip at least 23 seats this fall to regain control of the House. 

Many candidates are running campaigns built around frustration with the current administration, but the Democratic governor said that enthusiasm in the party is not limited to its progressive wing.

"We have to make sure that folks can win, and what we also saw is record turnout in yesterday’s primary in Florida," Bullock said.

"I think folks are tired of nothing getting done, sick of states not getting anything done," he said. "There’s a lot of energy out there, and the energy isn’t in either one end of the spectrum of the party."

Some Democrats in states that voted for Trump in 2016 are running campaigns appealing to centrists and moderates who have been disappointed by the Trump administration. 

Bullock insisted unity and energizing voters is the key to the flipping seats.

"I begin with a basic assumption, that most folks lives are too busy for politics and the partisanship that we see every day," he said. "And we really share some values. Everybody wants a safe community, a decent job, a roof over their heads, good public schools, clean air, clean water."

"And I think it's important to be for something, not just against them," he added.

Bullock, who won reelection in 2016 in a state that went to Trump by 20 points, recently said that he doesn't believe Democrats have to "walk in lockstep."