Here are the ten most rural states (by percentage of population living in rural areas):
- West Virginia
- South Dakota
Only two of these states will have Democratic governors as of next year.
Jim Justice won the West Virginia governorship this year. He has never held any other office, and until last year, he was a registered Republican. Democrats probably would not find him acceptable: he is a coal billionaire who owes millions in back taxes and mine safety fines.
That leaves Steve Bullock of Montana, who won this year even as Trump racked up a 20-point margin in the state.
His moderately progressive stands would be attractive to a general electorate and his advocacy of campaign finance reform could be very appealing to many Democrats. He is relatively young (born 1966), well-educated (Claremont McKenna College -- where he was my thesis student! -- and Columbia Law), and experienced (he is in his second term, with four years as state attorney general before that).