Washington (CNN) – Under fire for plagiarism, Democratic Sen. John Walsh of Montana is now feeling the pressure at home.
Newspapers from the two largest cities in Montana are calling for Walsh to end his Senate campaign in light of charges that he plagiarized part of a paper needed to complete his master's degree at the Army War College.
"Plagiarism is a big deal. It is an act of deception that has serious consequences – not the least of these being a loss of trust," a Missoulian Sunday editorial declared. "At a minimum, he [Walsh] should drop out of the Senate race."
The Missoulian also called on Walsh to "resign his Senate seat immediately."
In its Sunday editorial, The Billings Gazette also urged Walsh to withdraw from the race, arguing that "haunted by a serious lapse in academic honesty, Walsh is finished as a U.S. Senate candidate."
"Having repeatedly said that he wants to do the honorable thing, Walsh should stop campaigning and do his utmost to serve Montanans well in the remainder of his brief Senate appointment," the editorial board wrote. "That is the honorable course."
The Gazette argued that Walsh should "finish the Senate job he already accepted."
The New York Times first reported in July that a review of Walsh's 2007 final paper suggests the Iraq war veteran "appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution.”
Although Walsh's campaign has admitted the the paper's citations were "not all done correctly," they insisted the mistakes were "unintentional." In an interview with the Associated Press, Walsh partially blamed the mistakes on the fact that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress after his Iraq deployment.
The Defense Department's inspector general is examining the questions now surrounding Walsh's thesis.
Walsh, a former lieutenant governor who was appointed to the Senate after Max Baucus became ambassador to China, is up for election in November.
Before the charges of plagiarism, the senator faced an already tough race against Republican Rep. Steve Daines. The latest scandal further raises the likelihood of a Republican victory in Montana.