Montana’s Walsh Ends Senate Campaign

The Democrat is ending his campaign for a full term after plagiarism charges rocked his candidacy.

Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., speaks during an event in the Capitol Visitor Center on the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, July 23, 2014. 
National Journal
Alex Roarty and Emily Schultheis
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Alex Roarty and Emily Schultheis
Aug. 7, 2014, 12:08 p.m.

Demo­crat­ic Sen. John Walsh sus­pen­ded his cam­paign for a full Sen­ate term on Thursday, bow­ing to pres­sure to back out of the race after a pla­gi­ar­ism scan­dal threatened to elim­in­ate his already slim chance of vic­tory in Montana.

In a state­ment to Lee News­pa­pers, Walsh said he wanted to fo­cus on fin­ish­ing his term as a sen­at­or.

“It is time for us all to re­turn to the real is­sues of this elec­tion,” he said.

Walsh, the mil­it­ary vet­er­an ap­poin­ted to re­place Sen. Max Baucus in Feb­ru­ary, was run­ning against Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Steve Daines in the Montana race. The state’s Demo­crats now must scramble to find a re­place­ment can­did­ate in the next two weeks, an un­en­vi­able task just three months be­fore Elec­tion Day in a race many already ex­pec­ted Re­pub­lic­ans to win.

The news comes amidst heavy ru­mors that Walsh has been mulling his polit­ic­al fu­ture this week. Loc­al news out­lets re­por­ted that Walsh had can­celed a series of pub­lic events, in­clud­ing a Tues­day night fun­draiser in Jack­son Hole, Wyo. — an in­dic­a­tion that he is ready to end his cam­paign.

Ori­gin­ally, staffers were told they would re­ceive a call or email Tues­day night with news about Walsh’s de­cision, a seni­or Walsh aide told Na­tion­al Journ­al. Later Tues­day night, they were told the de­cision would in­stead be an­nounced to staff on Wed­nes­day morn­ing. Walsh an­nounced the de­cision on a call with staffers, the seni­or aide said, adding that Walsh’s wife Janet was “openly sob­bing” as she thanked mem­bers of the cam­paign.

Ed­it­or­i­al boards across the state called for his de­par­ture from the race over the week­end. The Mis­souli­an said Walsh needs to “bow out of the Sen­ate race im­me­di­ately”; the Billings Gaz­ette wrote that Walsh should “stop cam­paign­ing and do his ut­most to serve Montanans well” for the re­mainder of his Sen­ate term.

A New York Times re­port in late Ju­ly found that Walsh had pla­gi­ar­ized large por­tions of his mas­ters thes­is at the U.S. Army War Col­lege in Pennsylvania. Walsh ini­tially apo­lo­gized for his ac­tions, with both the can­did­ate and the cam­paign claim­ing his pla­gi­ar­ism was a res­ult of post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­order after serving in Ir­aq.

Walsh later re­versed those state­ments, say­ing PTSD was not at fault: “I am in no way — no way — ty­ing what I did to any type of PTSD,” Walsh told a loc­al ra­dio sta­tion.”It had noth­ing to do with the mis­take that I made.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Helena In­de­pend­ent Re­cord, a nearly 200-del­eg­ate com­mit­tee will con­vene to pick the new nom­in­ee, a group com­pris­ing party lead­ers from across Montana. They have un­til Aug. 20 to do so. 

Pos­sible can­did­ates to re­place Walsh on the Demo­crat­ic tick­et in­clude former NARAL Pro-Choice Amer­ica Pres­id­ent Nancy Keen­an; EMILY’s List Pres­id­ent Stephanie Schriock; John Bo­hlinger, the former lieu­ten­ant gov­ernor who lost to Walsh in the Demo­crat­ic primary; and ranch­er Dirk Adams, who also ran in the primary.

There will also be pres­sure on former Montana Gov. Bri­an Sch­weitzer, who turned down a chance to run last year, to re­con­sider in the wake of Walsh’s de­cision.

The man who fin­ished a dis­tant second to Walsh in the Demo­crat­ic primary, Bo­hlinger, told Na­tion­al Journ­al he would be open to ac­cept­ing the nom­in­a­tion.

“If they con­sider me a vi­able can­did­ate, I would run with the pro­vi­sion that the Demo­crat­ic Party provide suf­fi­cient money for a cred­ible cam­paign as well as staff and vo­lun­teers around the state,” he said.

He made clear, however, that he would not seek sup­port for the nom­in­a­tion if the state party com­mit­tee de­cided to pick an­oth­er nom­in­ee.

Demo­crats wor­ried not just about the neg­at­ive im­pact of the Walsh al­leg­a­tions on his own race, but the ripple ef­fect he could have on down-bal­lot races in the state — in par­tic­u­lar, on the state’s at-large con­gres­sion­al race, where Demo­crat John Lewis re­mains com­pet­it­ive.

Pos­sible can­did­ates to re­place Walsh on the Demo­crat­ic tick­et in­clude former NARAL Pro-Choice Amer­ica Pres­id­ent Nancy Keen­an, EMILY’s List Pres­id­ent Stephanie Schriock, John Bo­hlinger, the former lieu­ten­ant gov­ernor who lost to Walsh in the Demo­crat­ic primary or ranch­er Dirk Adams, who also ran in the primary. There will also be pres­sure on former Montana Gov. Bri­an Sch­weitzer, who turned down a chance to run last year, to re­con­sider in the wake of Walsh’s de­cision.Pos­sible can­did­ates to re­place Walsh on the Demo­crat­ic tick­et in­clude former NARAL Pro-Choice Amer­ica Pres­id­ent Nancy Keen­an, EMILY’s List Pres­id­ent Stephanie Schriock, John Bo­hlinger, the former lieu­ten­ant gov­ernor who lost to Walsh in the Demo­crat­ic primary or ranch­er Dirk Adams, who also ran in the primary.There will also be pres­sure on former Montana Gov. Bri­an Sch­weitzer, who turned down a chance to run last year, to re­con­sider in the wake of Walsh’s de­cisio
What We're Following See More »
STAKES ARE HIGH
Debate Could Sway One-Third of Voters
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."

Source:
YOU DON’T BRING ME FLOWERS ANYMORE
Gennifer Flowers May Not Appear After All
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."

Source:
HAS BEEN OFF OF NEWSCASTS FOR A WEEK
For First Debate, Holt Called on NBC Experts for Prep
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

NBC's Lester Holt hasn't hosted the "Nightly News" since Tuesday, as he's prepped for moderating the first presidential debate tonight—and the first of his career. He's called on a host of NBC talent to help him, namely NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack; NBC News president Deborah Turness; the news division's senior vice president of editorial, Janelle Rodriguez; "Nightly News" producer Sam Singal, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, senior political editor Mark Murray and political editor Carrie Dann. But during the debate itself, the only person in Holt's earpiece will be longtime debate producer Marty Slutsky.

Source:
WHITE HOUSE PROMISES VETO
House Votes to Bar Cash Payments to Iran
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House passed legislation late Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from making any cash payments to Iran, in protest of President Obama's recently discovered decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash in January. And while the White House has said Obama would veto the bill, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the measure, 254-163."

Source:
NO SURPRISE
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Source:
×