August 7th, 2014
04:17 PM ET
9 years 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.

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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. Mr. Balls

    He wasn't going to win anyway.

    August 8, 2014 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  2. belinda

    Finally, giving another a Democrat the chance to win. What a nightmare, the do nothing GOP, taking over the Senate. Desperation time.

    August 8, 2014 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  3. salty dog

    Careful what you ask for Montana, america,,your social security, and future healthcare depend on it, don't want those, willing to give them up for more tax breaks for the richest, that's what you'll get, they've told you as much.

    August 8, 2014 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  4. Norman

    Typical, only Doom & Gloom Democrats posting about this story. Oh Lord, if the Democrats are not running the show the entire world will just fall apart. (Oh Gee, look at recent headlines with Community Organizer In-Chief asleep at the wheel) Oh Lordy, if the Democrats don't win there will be nobody to take care of me because I can't take care of myself. The world is so unfair to me and I'm a victim of everything. If the Democrats are not in power then the mean old white Republicans (No race hate intended) will just ruin my life! Oh Lordy, what's is helpless little me going to do??

    August 8, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  5. Dean

    Typical Democrat...blaming his actions on someone/something else...not his fault. BS.

    August 8, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  6. Harleigh Kiffer

    Horrors-a corrupt democratic senator?

    August 8, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  7. Jim Rome

    This display of conscience must bewilder Republi-cons.

    August 8, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. WiltonManors

    Another democrat caught in scandal and lies.

    August 8, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. 1776usa2016


    We have plenty of other great progressive candidates.


    August 8, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  10. American

    I wish everyone realized none of the politician really care about us it's about getting reelected and maintaining election dollars. How many of these so called public servants are poor. Let's look at the Avg. net worth of congressman or woman versus the American people. But they continue to take and spend my tax dollar and are not doing anything. If you didn't know Congressmen and women cannot be removed from office. If we can vote them in we should be able to vote them out before their term is up. If I don’t do my job I get fired. Let fire all of them and not pay them a pension for the rest of their life. Put them on Obamacare or cobra?

    August 8, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  11. Fair is Fair



    We have plenty of other great progressive candidates.
    Exactly... there's scores of them in heavily progressive Montana.

    August 8, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Democrat Junk

    Vijay.....Awesome? How does that blog from Dutch reach the heights of "Awesome"?

    August 8, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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