August 7th, 2014
04:17 PM ET
2 months ago

Walsh drops out of Montana Senate race

(CNN) - Sen. John Walsh dropped out of the Senate race in Montana on Thursday amid allegations of plagiarism, a senior Democratic source familiar with the senator's thinking confirmed to CNN.

The move further hurts Democratic chances of maintaining control of the Senate. Republicans need a net gain of six seats in November to take the majority.

The Democrat is accused of not properly attributing certain material in a paper to complete his master's degree at the Army War College.

The New York Times first reported last month that a review of a 2007 final paper suggests the decorated Iraq war veteran "appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors' works, with no attribution."

Material from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report and a 1998 essay by a Harvard scholar were included in the paper without proper sourcing, the Times reported.

The Pentagon announce last week its inspector general will review the college's academic investigation of the plagiarism issue.

Walsh's reelection campaign acknowledged "the citations were not all done correctly," but insisted it was an "unintentional mistake."

He later told the Associated Press he was suffering from post-traumatic stress after his Iraq deployment.

Walsh's decision to pull out of the race was first reported by the Billings Gazette.

In a letter to supporters obtained by the newspaper, Walsh said: “I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. senator. … You deserve someone who will always fight for Montana, and I will.”

Walsh was already facing a tough reelection challenge in the conservative state against GOP candidate Rep. Steve Daines.

It's "highly unlikely" that former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who declined to run for the seat earlier this year, will jump in, according to the same senior Democratic source.

Possible Democratic candidates who might run, according to a Montana Democratic source, are Nancy Keenan, the former president of the reproductive rights organization, NARAL Pro-Choice America; state Sen. Dave Wanzenried or state Rep. Franke Wilmer.

Montana law states that candidates must drop out at least 85 days before Election Day in order to be replaced on the ballot. It's up to the state party's central committee to select a replacement.

Walsh stepped down as Montana's lieutenant governor after he was appointed to the Senate in February to replace Max Baucus, who is now ambassador to China.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report


Filed under: 2014 • Montana • Senate
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The move further hurts Democratic chances of maintaining control of the Senate. Republicans need a net gain of six seats in November for that to occur."

    I would like to think that not everything has a political "winner take all bet to it" but who am I kidding?

    "Walsh was already facing a tough reelection challenge in the conservative state against GOP candidate Rep. Steve Daines."

    Oh. He was most likely not going to win regardless, eh?

    August 7, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. it must be said

    I wonder who the Democrats are now going to scrape up to run? Maybe they can check the local jails for a new candidate?

    August 7, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. What evs

    Dems/repubs are so equally dishonest it is pathetic. Why do we continue to vote for these criminals??

    August 7, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    If he's resigning for plagiarism, when can we expect Rand Paul's resignation?

    August 7, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. "Murica Numba One

    There is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. They both work for the same lobby – AIPAC.

    August 7, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Ken

    Just another TYPICAL POLITICIAN! ….and politicians wonder why they have a bad reputation. Da!

    August 7, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. Joe

    Why does this guy have to drop out when Rand Paul, who has been caught plagiarizing multiple times, keeps his Senate seat and is considered a 2016 Presidential contender?

    August 7, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House
    If he's resigning for plagiarism, when can we expect Rand Paul's resignation?

    +++++++++++++++++

    You're joking, right? If two of the three posts above you are any indication, IOKIYAR.

    August 7, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. sly

    A Montana Democrat is not unlike an Alabama Democrat – highly doubt this Walsh fellow was very progressive in such a red state.

    Let the cards fall where they will – these last 6 years have been exceptional for America, with a progressive President who has won nearly ever policy battle with his obstructionalist foes in Congress.

    I figure America will be governed for the next 10 years by progressives – thank the Lord we finally are getting some non-white-christian-male types involved. That can ONLY be good.

    August 7, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. redhawk122

    Why isn't this a bigger headline CNN?

    August 7, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Yakobi

    "these last 6 years have been exceptional for America"
    HAHAHA! Good one, sly. You keep believing that, though I don't think many Americans agree with you.

    Here's to the "regressives" losing the Senate in 2014 and kicking obstructionist Harry Reid to the curb next to Nancy Pelosi!

    August 7, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Vijay

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House
    If he's resigning for plagiarism, when can we expect Rand Paul's resignation?

    Awesome.....

    August 7, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Richard

    BHo is an idiot !

    August 7, 2014 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. scotty

    why does anyone care if the democrats keep the senate or the republicans take the senate. It just plain does NOT matter! Nothing will still get done due to filibusters and the presidential veto pen. We need to remove every last one of these yahoos from their seats, including my own who are not half bad, and replace them with people that will actually govern for the people, until then, it no longer matters who wins what, it's a stalemate no matter what.

    August 7, 2014 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. Cryo Genus

    Anybody else notice CNN's disregard for the law in the article? Read toward the bottom and the author writes:
    "Montana law states that candidates must drop out at least 85 days before Election Day in order to be replaced on the ballot. "

    In other words, it is against the law for him to be replaced, right? Yet in the very next sentence, CNN states:
    "It's up to the state party's central committee to select a replacement."

    And not another word from the author about the apparent contradiction to law. Does the author believe that the Montana Democratic State central committee (sounds eerily like a communist term from yore) will simply ignore the rule of law?

    August 7, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  16. Dean

    Let the cards fall where they will – these last 6 years have been exceptional for America----------------------How are things down in your mother's basement Bud Bundy?

    August 7, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  17. Fred

    Well, at least he didn't try to blame Bush. Sort of refreshing, from someone in his party!

    August 7, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. bf

    Obama and the Dems have a war on white people.

    August 7, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Both Party's are corrupted .

    Big Money feeds the Pig .

    August 7, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. SJJJA

    Easterners, Montana is not Alabama. The west is not the bible belt. Just because a state has a low population does not mean they are a bunch of Red State NASCAR loving people afraid of the communist government is going to break down there doors and take there guns and there Jaysus (Have you ever been to Montana? Can you even find Montana on a map?). I love watching the political drama queens on these comments- then you can see what's really wrong with this country. I thought women were suppose to be only drama queens.

    August 7, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. theunvarnishedtruth

    LOL, the Obama years have been a total disaster.

    He has done an exceptionally poor job both domestically and internationally. He refuses to work with Congress in a bipartisan way as Bill Clinton (a great President) did because Obama is just a simple community organizer that was never ready to be the boss.

    Obama forgot history - the buck stops on his desk, as another great American and Democrat said a long time ago. Blaming others for his failures is just a confirmation of weakness and inability.

    Obama is Putin's punk on the world stage. That 3 a.m. call should have gone to Hillary or anyone else.

    Line in the sand? Right. Obama makes Woodrow Wilson look like a tough guy.

    Obama, is the facepalm of American presidents.

    August 7, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. Desel

    Montana has been a Red State for some time and the possibility of Montana changing over to a Senate Blue state was very remote. Mr. Walsh stepping down does not change anything. Montana was going to be in the Republican column
    regardless.

    Now if we can get Mr. Ran Paul to step down for his Plagiarism miscues that would really be something!

    August 7, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. Larry Stokes

    Our entire Senate is a gang of no good criminals..In for the perks and money and the hell with the people they swore to serve. Our country is going away rather quickly...I am not proud of our leaders....I am proud of President Obama.
    He has done a good job in the face of the enemy.....He has and is serviing for the people.

    August 7, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  24. 1776usa2016

    Good. We don't need this guy.

    There are plenty of other great progressive candidates out there.

    .

    August 7, 2014 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. love344

    and Rand Paul is still a senator...........ummm?

    August 7, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
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