Montana Democrats reviewing steps for Walsh replacement

2014-08-07T07:28:00Z 2014-09-23T06:33:55Z Montana Democrats reviewing steps for Walsh replacementThe Associated Press The Associated Press
August 07, 2014 7:28 am  • 

HELENA — Sen. John Walsh hasn't made a public appearance since the weekend, and Montana Democrats are reviewing the steps they would need to take to replace him with another candidate if he decides to withdraw from the Senate race.

Walsh's campaign has been silent about whether he plans to keep campaigning amid allegations that he plagiarized a research paper while studying for a master's degree at the U.S. Army War College in 2007.

Walsh has canceled campaign events scheduled for this week and spent Tuesday and Wednesday at his home in Helena. Tuesday was "a personal day" for him, spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua said.

Campaign staffers have avoided questions about Walsh's plans for the race, and his normally active social-media sites haven't been updated for days.

Walsh has until Aug. 11 to drop out of the race against Republican Rep. Steve Daines, and the state's Democratic Party has until Aug. 20 to submit the name of a replacement candidate to the Montana Secretary of State.

"We are looking at our process" if Walsh decides to withdraw, party spokesman Bryan Watt said. Party leaders have not vetted any potential candidates, he added.

Watt said he did not know whether Walsh had made a decision and that the party stood behind the former lieutenant governor and former commander of the Montana National Guard.

According to party rules, the Democrats would hold a nominating convention to select a replacement. Convention delegates would include county party committee leaders, party executive board members and statewide and federally elected officials — about 175 people, Watt said.

They would gather to nominate potential replacements and hold rounds of balloting until one person received a majority of the votes.

Walsh has come under increasing pressure after The New York Times reported that he plagiarized portions of the 2007 research project he wrote while attending the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. The editorial boards of Montana's three largest daily newspapers have called for him to withdraw his candidacy, while others have demanded that he apologize or forfeit his master's degree.

"Instead of closing ranks around Walsh, Democrats should call on him to do the right thing," The Billings Gazette wrote in a Sunday editorial. "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."

Walsh is running to keep the Senate seat he was appointed to by Gov. Steve Bullock in February when Max Baucus resigned to become ambassador to China.

Bullock communications director Dave Parker said Wednesday the governor has not spoken to Walsh since the Times' story was published.

Walsh previously said he made unintentional mistakes in not citing others' work in his paper on the spread of democracy in the Middle East. He also said he was being treated for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder at the time, but said he was not blaming PTSD for his mistake.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. walter12
    Report Abuse
    walter12 - August 08, 2014 7:18 am
    Yes, send us a list of volunteers for a political suicide mission.
  2. Chuck Feney
    Report Abuse
    Chuck Feney - August 07, 2014 2:50 pm
    Colonel Cut-n-Paste

    Of the Senate, he had a wee taste
    A chance that's now gone to waste
    'Cause he came up short
    On his Master's report...
    Such is life for Colonel Cut-n-Paste!

    He didn't even make it until fall
    Struck out by a N.Y.Times' curve ball
    It's not a blunder
    That he missed a funder...
    The un-plagiarized Writing's-On-The-Wall!

    So kids, here's the moral of my tale:
    "Cut corners cause big trains to derail!"
    Cheat on a paper
    And your career's a vapor...
    You too can end up in an EPIC FAIL!
  3. Ross
    Report Abuse
    Ross - August 07, 2014 2:31 pm
    The powers to be probably spent the past two weeks lining up a post senate (golden parachute deal) for him, in order for him to step down in time for another candidate to get on the ballot. Look for it......
  4. Dubs
    Report Abuse
    Dubs - August 07, 2014 1:50 pm
    So, just to make sure I understand your rambling, the only soldiers that understand PTSD are democrats? Makes sense to me---that makes 2 of us.
  5. Miss Perfect
    Report Abuse
    Miss Perfect - August 07, 2014 1:43 pm
    Engen an McDermott are available. Both will tell any yarn or lie to get what they want......they are PP - Perfect Progressives!
  6. Miss Perfect
    Report Abuse
    Miss Perfect - August 07, 2014 1:41 pm
    Get a grip man! Walsh admitted he was NEVER diagnosed with PTSD! This is the typical progressive "Cover Up"! Go on........kick the Koch Brothers, call republicans racist and all the usual progressive "Fake Outrage" tricks.

    But get off the PTSD.......Walsh NEVER had it! He is just a cheating opportunist who got caught. Next story.....
  7. Shonkin
    Report Abuse
    Shonkin - August 07, 2014 1:23 pm
    Let's look at the big picture.
    (1) While serving as Adjutant General, Walsh used his office for personal gain and pressured his subordinates to join a lobbying organization.
    (2) For this he received a Letter of Reprimand, which is no small thing on the scale of military discipline.
    (3) While attending the Army War College he wrote a master's thesis. Large parts of this thesis contained cut-and-paste pieces from another author's work, and Walsh gave the author no credit, no footnotes, no anything.
    (4) Academic cheating, or cheating of any kind, is a violation of the Honor Code, which is binding on all American military officers. If he is found guilty, revocation of his degree is the least severe penalty he faces. Reduction in grade is a possibility, which would mean loss of part of his retirement benefits.
    (5) The War College turned the investigation over to the Department of Defense, probably in view of the defendant being a Senator.
    (6) The news was broken by the New York Times, which is a notoriously pro-Democratic paper, not by a "right-wing source."
    Does anybody, Democrat or Republican, want this man as our Senator?
  8. Alan H Johnson
    Report Abuse
    Alan H Johnson - August 07, 2014 12:41 pm
    Fortunately the Democrats are not run by an autocrat or a "machine" that can command any candidate to do anything. There is a procedure in place. The Party will follow it when Walsh quits the campaign.
  9. liberal
    Report Abuse
    liberal - August 07, 2014 12:06 pm
    Schweitzer for US Senate !!!!
  10. MT-James
    Report Abuse
    MT-James - August 07, 2014 11:36 am
    Governor Bullock has not spoke with him. Bullock should have picked up the phone the day the story broke and spoke with him, Something smells....
  11. montanamuralist
    Report Abuse
    montanamuralist - August 07, 2014 11:07 am
    While I believe the plagiarism was partially a result from PTSD and the effect that has on a person returning from combat, I do not know how Walsh recovers from this and he should step aside to let someone else run, however difficult that may be. As evidenced in these comment pages the last few weeks since the allegations were made public, most people have no clue about PTSD, especially right wingers who are fooled in to believing Daines is fighting for them. The average voter does not understand PTSD and most have never been in combat. For the average voter in this state it is about credibility and honesty and that is why Walsh should get out. He has no credibility and his integrity is in doubt. Whoever replaces him on the ballot, and there is still time to get that persons name on the ballot, it will be a tough road in fundraising and restoring credibility to the Democratic party as a whole. I do believe the right person could pull it off though because Daines is vulnerable and there are many of us in this state who see through the GOP charade that favors only big corporations while they continue to give tax breaks to the rich and give less services to the middle class. They promise jobs while they obstruct and take their htred for Obama out on all of us by not allowing the country to move forward. Daines has been part of that obstruction in Washington and I believe Montana voters are smart enough to see it. I personally would like to see Dirk Adams come in the race but he is not an experienced campaigner. Perhaps Schweitzer will reconsider and give it a try...he has a shot. We will see. Bottom line is Walsh should withdraw from the race...now. Right wing nuts, don't celebrate to hard. More and more people are catching on to your craziness and lack of compromise and your days in power are numbered.
  12. MiddleFinger
    Report Abuse
    MiddleFinger - August 07, 2014 10:06 am


    Aww heck. I'll run for senate. I've already got good name recognition, and my campaign motto will be "Ef ya dint go ta kal-age, ya dont gotta play-jerize" unless someone else is already using that slogan.

    Cool hole that's opened up. Now every qualified candidate that avoids running must have something to hide. Dig deep enough and everyone is flawed. That's kind of the point, right?



  13. Greg Strandberg
    Report Abuse
    Greg Strandberg - August 07, 2014 8:50 am
    2 weeks today this has been going on. Who's running this party in this state, and do we want them to continue to do so?
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