HELENA – Montana Sen. John Walsh said Thursday he was pulling out of the Senate race because his campaign was distracted by the controversy over allegations that he plagiarized a U.S. Army War College research paper.

Walsh, a Democrat, said he decided to drop out of the race after canceling campaign events this week so he and his family could gather in his Helena home to decide his political future.

Walsh will serve out the rest of his Senate term, which ends in early January 2015.

The New York Times reported July 23 that Walsh had plagiarized large portions of the research paper in 2007.

The plagiarism charge dominated Montana news since then. Editorials in the state’s largest daily newspapers had called on Walsh to drop out of the race because of the plagiarism.

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

The Montana Democratic Party now will choose a replacement for Walsh, to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot along with Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines and Libertarian Roger Roots.

The party must select a new Senate candidate at a nominating convention by Aug. 20. (See related story.)

Walsh drove from Helena to Billings Thursday to personally tell his staff of the decision before it was released publicly.

“I am proud that with your support, we held our opponent (Daines) accountable for his hurtful record to privatize Medicare, to deny women the freedom to make their own health decisions and to sell off our public lands,” Walsh said in the statement. “I know how important it is to continue the fight for these Montana values, and it is time for us all to return to the real issues of this election.”

Daines had held a large lead in polls, but Walsh had narrowed the gap in the days before the New York Times story broke.

“I think it is a decision that in a lot of ways people were expecting, in the sense he was off the trail for a long period of time,” said David Parker, a political science professor at Montana State University. “It would have been hard, given the recent editorials and the recent polls to continue as a viable candidate.”

Parker said the plagiarism charges drew national attention and would have made it hard for Walsh to raise the funds to be competitive against Daines.

“I think at the end of the day, that was the kill shot,” Parker said.

***

Walsh drew praise from top Montana Democrats after his announcement, saying how much they respect him and the difficult decision he made to drop out.

Walsh drew praise from top Montana Democrats after his announcement, saying how much they respect him and the difficult decision he made to drop out.

“John has dedicated his life to serving the people of Montana and our country,” fellow Democratic Sen. Jon Tester said. “From his 33-year career of military service to his work in the U.S. Senate, John Walsh has courageously devoted himself to our state and our nation, and we all owe him thanks for his service.”

Gov. Steve Bullock, who tapped Walsh to be his running mate as lieutenant governor in 2012 and appointed him to the Senate in February to replace Sen. Max Baucus, said:

“No man should be judged based on his best or his worst days, yet rather over a lifetime. ... It’s unfortunate that we live in an era where more money and time is spent trying to find the flaws a candidate may have than weighing what good they can do.”

Daines, meanwhile, said he respected Walsh’s decision and remains focused on “working for the people of Montana and fighting for more jobs, less government.”

Walsh, 53, was named as the state’s adjutant general by then-Gov. Brian Schweitzer in 2008. He resigned in 2012 when Bullock selected him as his running mate for lieutenant governor. The Bullock-Walsh team won the election by a narrow margin.

He was enjoying his job as lieutenant governor until Montana politics was turned upside-down when longtime Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., made a surprise announcement in April 2013 that he wouldn’t seek re-election.

Schweitzer expressed interest in running for the Senate seat and cleared out the Democratic field. However, in mid-July, Schweitzer decided not to run,

Walsh jumped into the Senate race in October 2013.

Then in another surprise announcement, President Barack Obama in December appointed Baucus to be U.S. ambassador to China. That created an opening in the Senate to serve out the remainder of Baucus’ term.

On Feb. 7, Bullock appointed Walsh to the Senate vacancy. Walsh went on to win a three-way primary for the Democratic Senate nomination in June.

In his statement, Walsh went on to say: “I am grateful for the opportunity to have met countless people in the course of this campaign who have offered support – who know what’s at stake for the future of our great nation. That is why public service is so important to me, and why I look forward to continuing to fight for Montana in the U.S. Senate.

“Nothing is more important to me than serving the people of Montana. It’s been my privilege for more than 30 years, defending both our state and nation.”

In the Senate, Walsh is the only Iraq combat veteran and a leading critic in the Senate of re-engaging in Iraq.

He introduced the Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act, a bill that drew bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House.

Walsh had another bill to create an independent Commission on Care to examine the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in response to reports of delayed and inadequate care at the VA. Obama signed the bill into law Thursday.

Chuck Johnson is chief of the Lee Newspapers State Bureau in Helena. He can be reached by email at chuck.johnson@lee.net or by phone at (406) 447-4066 or (800) 525-4920.

More from missoulian.com

(73) comments

Hersbird

So he doesn't have enough integrity to run for the Senate but he has enough to be our senator? He should have resigned his never elected post. Also now there will be no democratic process to pick the democrat nominee. Maybe the "demo" in democrat stands for demons.

Miss Perfect

“I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. senator,”?????

Umm......no, you sir, are not trusted at all. You might just as well vacate the office now. Whom.....do youth think entrusts you?

Dam_Skippy

If only the rest of the senate would focus on their senate responsibility and end their campaigns.

I wonder who wrote that for Walsh? Running for the office is over half the job. And how much does a 6 mo freshman lame duck senator have to do other than cast votes he told to cast?

How does such a failure reach this high level of public office?

Peregrine

Each master's candidate has a committee that reviews the thesis. Until it meets their approval, the candidate cannot submit it and the student does not get a degree. so who is at fault here? Certainly they've seen many similar works and know what should be cited properly? This whole thing is bogus.

AL KIPF
AL KIPF

YAWN

This is likely not Walsh's first at-bat with nefarious doings.

It IS likely the first time he got caught.

ds

I'm glad he has dropped out. Now we can use him as an object lesson to all those students who are tempted to do the ol' cut and paste. He was never very exciting in the first place. A terrible choice. I just hope the Dems get their act together and select someone progressives can get excited about.

Chuck Feney
Chuck Feney

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 New York Times' curve ball
And 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!

Voterincounty

Walsh should move to Florence MT where Vickie Cornish, Pat Appleby, Mike Gregor, Dorthy Rhodes,and Melvin Finlay all gave our recently resigned Superintendent, John C. McGee a 3 year contract extension with a 6% raise after serial plagiarism in the Schools local newspaper. Thanks to the last 2 elections our community has seen the immoral school board trustee's lose elections. Incumbent's, Gregor, Cornish, and Rhodes are now gone. McGee flee'd the scene after realizing that Plagiarism is not accepted by our Voting community. Our kids will benefit from his departure as will all Montanan's with Walsh's departure. Centerville Montana Schools should be extremely cautious with their new Superintendent John C. McGee!!!

Lynne McKay

We can talk about who is going to run, why, and what will they do for Montana. Bottom line is not one of them will represent Montana/America as they should. I would have loved to see Obama's past come unraveled like Walsh,'s, that would be much more interesting.

gato

President Obama's "unraveling" didn't happen nor will it happen. Republicans from day one have tried to take him down........nothing........zilch! My guy gets stronger, more resolute, with each passing day.

Miss Perfect

nobama is unraveling as we speak. He is beset by scandals on all sides. Obama is so desperate the DemoRATS tried to plant a fake "Impeachment" battle cry......didn't work. There is no impeachment, just lawsuits (Of which obama has lost almost all of them).

Walsh....Obama....Pelosi.....Lois Lerner....eric Holder........long, long list of "Rats" infesting our politics.

Ross

Can I add Reid to your list?

gato

I'm going to have to us this on you Missy, "You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts".

Ross

"My guy"? Cue the Temptations "My guy, my guy, my guy, talking about my little guy, my guy"........are you getting that Chrissy Mathews thrill down your leg? Clod you're so transparent.

gato

If nothing else, you've become "entertainment"

BJackson

I thought Walsh was "Your Guy ?" Guess that didn't work out to well? So now you have a "new guy", typical shift focus with each downfall, you should run for office, you would be good at it.

gato

First, you question yourself then you start guessing. Rewind that tape in your head, did I explicitly state in any of my posts my preference for Walsh?........ah, that's a no! A reasonable person would infer "my guy", would be Walsh. It is good to question one's self but guessing probably isn't the best of strategies. For a guy who claims a Masters, you sure bumble about.

gato

A person can have more than on "my guy's". An example.....my guy in the White House is President Obama, my guy for Senator from Montana will be the one nominated by the Dems on Aug 16th, my guy to win the upcoming welterweight title fight between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana will be Maidana See how that works? Even a person with 30 years in the Army should be able to grasp the concept.

AL KIPF
AL KIPF

Shaberts - 10 hours ago
"Failure to scrutinize his running mate?? Are you kidding? Tell me how many team candidates read one another's masters thesis? Let alone searches for citation mistakes. Point to one that you know of, or even employers"

Seriously?

Is this Walsh's first time or the first time he was found out?

Former Montanan

@retiredmsln I think you have missed the point. It is not important who or how many have read Walsh's paper. It is obvious some have. The point is he is dishonest. He is a disgrace to his command in ANG to the Army to the people of Montana( the ones that hired him). To his country. If he would lie on this issue how many other lies has he swept under the rug. In my book he is no better than the self proclaimed war hero John Kerry.
It is ashamed that the people of the state of Montana has allowed the Governor to appoint him and to had have him as a Lt Gov. His privileges and rank as a solider should be stripped of him.
People of Montana should wake up and quit voting like Californians and use some sense.
I am not saying Mr. Danies is a better candidate. Just be sure to know when you vote, the person is who they claim they are.
Walsh do the honorable thing and resign before you dishonor yourself any further.

Miss Perfect

People in Missoula vote like californians because almost ALL good middle class jobs are gone. The ones that remain live off of my taxes.......parasites.

74griz

The honorable thing to so was to drop out of the campaign and RESIGN FROM THE SENATE! But he has no honor.

Hersbird

Right, he doesn't have enough honorable to run for senator but he has enough honorable to actually be senator? Liberal logic at it's finest.

Miss Perfect

WALSH - Everything you need to know about the state of the Demorat Party.!!

Lying, cheating, unqualified, no private sector experience........real bad haircut.

Hmmmmm......now I see why the same dorks are always ranting here for democrats......they just cannot compete in the real world.......just like government rat Walsh........just like music teacher Tester.

Rick

John Walsh's next main concerns are going to revolve around the investigation of his plagiarism and possible loss of his degree.
Do you remember when Governor Bolo Tie demanded that Walsh be promoted to Brigadier General following the IG reprimand? I wonder what Brian's thinking now?

Larry Lewis

Walsh was a typical democrat. He couldn't help droning on the party platitudes as he sulked out the door. You all know if this race had been close at all the democrats and the media would have circled the wagons around Walsh. Heck, once they realized they picked a non-starter they were glad to drop him. The dems probably made the call to the times.

Greg Strandberg
Greg Strandberg

Why is the media so important anymore? What, 9% of this state reads a newspaper each day? How long will what these newspapers say continue to be relevant? By 2025 it won't - everyone reading them now will be too old to know what they're reading. Kids will be using their electronic devices, bypassing anything in print. Besides, they'll all be going to those sites whose biases they like.

Perhaps this scandal shows that candidates need to be stronger, not so weak and willing to bend the knee to corporate-controlled interests, like the Missoulian here.

nemo

Where does one pick up an application? I've pumped septic tanks, going to Washington can't be much different.

Avalanche Creek

That is funny.

gato

Have you ever had a Republican clog up a pump?

Andy B Hamond
Andy B Hamond

At least he did the honorable thing instead of taking the Ronald Reagan defense of "I can't remember".

BJackson

It is honorable to step down in disgrace and pretty much admit you are a cheater, yup, that make sense. He stepped out of the race because he got caught, not because he is sorry he cheated, if he had not been caught, he would not have stepped down.

Miss Perfect

Good comparison......Ronald Reagan.......brought down the Berlin Wall, bolstered a super tough national defense........proved supply side economics work.......worked with democrats to get tough legislation done,

Your man.....Walsh......no honor at all.......he just had no more choices.

Just like you.......what loser democrat will you vote for next? Engen?

Lynne McKay

I'm with you Miss Perfect.

AL KIPF
AL KIPF

Shaberts - 5 hours ago
" Failure to scrutinize his running mate?? Are you kidding? Tell me how many team candidates read one another's masters thesis? Let alone searches for citation mistakes. Point to one that you know of, or even employers"

You can't be serious, are you that naive?

Do you really think this is Walsh's first? I submit it's the first time he was found out.

Of course, he likely fits right into Americas ruling class of oligarchical collectivism.

Yellowdog1

He CHEATED to get the degree, then promoted to General. I believe he should have to pay back the government the monies he received illegally after promotion, as well his retirement should reflect the demotion he should get.

Al Coholic
Al Coholic

Well, at least this gives the Democrats six years to figure out who to pick to run against Stevie Tea-Party Wonder Daines. I'm looking forward to actually having someone more competent kick him out of office in 2020.

Avalanche Creek

A question I have had since this whole plagiarism issue has come up is, why did the War College not pick up on the plagiarism the day it was read and graded? What is wrong with their procedures? A freshman English teacher would have caught it immediately. Is this the first time he plagiarized? Does he know how to site or was he never taught? I still believe he could do a good job representing Montana, if he had good technical support. I do not look forward to seeing the nauseating grin of of Howdy Dowdy Daines as he sells out Montana.

retiredmsla

You nailed it. I'll bet no one even read the paper.

Miss Perfect

Many colleges do not care. They grant masters degrees to foreigners every day that cannot speak and write in english (A requirement). This morons end up as progessors at your local public university........there are several here at the UofM.

Walsh was "Gaming" the system to get automatic advancement.........which he did. Teachers do it all the time.......cops do it......most of the public sector do it.

Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria

I did predict that Walsh would get less than 35 percent of the vote.
Now I predict that IF the Dbags can even find a candidate, that Daines takes 70 percent of the vote.
That's a big if
Think of all the money that could be saved if we didn't have an election.

Rick

Brian Schweitzer's latest comments and now the revelation that his personal choice for Montana's AG was without the honor or ability to even complete a 14 page paper without cheating doesn't read too well.
As for Bullock, his running mate didn't have the background to stand up to even mild scrutiny.
Apachedriver has it right, "John Walsh wasn't brought down by his opponents; he was brought down by his low intelligence and poor character. This has been an embarrassing episode in Montana political history."
Notice, I did give credit where it was due.

DPotter

The political hypocrisy here is astonishing. Walsh is accused of plagiarism and he withdraws from the race while the punditry assails him for lack of character. Rand Paul is accused of plagiarism, more than once, and he and his supporters thinks he's presidential material.

Greg Strandberg
Greg Strandberg

Guess we just have different values than Kentucky.

gato

I can think of one exception......if you are born in another state,you can claim Montana roots.

BJackson

Get over it Potter, the Democrats have lost this one.

BJackson

Get over it Potter, the Democrats have lost this one.

Miss Perfect

Nope.....Doctor Rand has a clean record......YOUR man WALSH........not so good. Love it!

WhiteHat

Walsh should also exit the senate

Miss Perfect

he should exit the state

The Truth

Walsh was inappropriately given the job…orchestrated by Washington as we know. This is justice served.Ironically he accomplished as much in the few months he had the job as Baucus did in 30 years…nothing.

Miss Perfect

totally dishonest........do you think ....at all?

AL KIPF
AL KIPF

Will Bullock acknowledge any culpability for his failure to scrutinize his running mate? Doubtful.

Shaberts

Failure to scrutinize his running mate?? Are you kidding? Tell me how many team candidates read one another's masters thesis? Let alone searches for citation mistakes. Point to one that you know of, or even employers

fomerliberal

Let's hope they pick Brian "Gaydar" Schweitzer to take Walsh's place

Miss Perfect

Nope.......he has more luggage than Walsh!

my two bits

MANSFIELD - New, Fresh, Trusted, Smart, Attractive, Ethical, Mature...Instant Name Recognition in Montana!!

Schweitzer - Ego driven political hack...However, if you want someone with excellent GAYDAR he's your man!

Chuck Feney
Chuck Feney

Post-Plagiaristic Stress Disorder

Soon-to-be-former-Senator Walsh is depressed
'Cause Montana voters won't be impressed
That he cut-n-pasted his Masters,
Just one of many disasters
From the Appointed One, Post Traumatically Stressed!

Walsh needed a tear-jerking excuse
For playin' the rules fast and loose
So he thought long and hard
Then played the "P.T.S.D. Card"
To atone for his plagiaristic abuse.

He oughta imitate old Senator Max
Who was good at defending attacks...
Just mumble and laugh,
Adulter-date a lawyer on your staff,
Then off to China to represent Goldman Sachs!

But Brian Schweitzer has Washington dreams
This could all be just one of his schemes...
Did he drop the dimes
To the lib New York Times?
In politics, the obvious ain't always what it seems!

'Cause according to my Democrat sources,
It was always their plan to switch horses.
Will Hero Brian arise,
Upon Walsh's demise,
When he's drummed from Montana's armed forces?


Cats Life
Cats Life

Nothing gets done in Washington, so I don't see what difference it makes who we send there.

observer

And this just in: Walsh inadvertently drops out of the Senate race after plagiarizing one of Howard Dean's old speeches.

Miss Perfect

thats YOUR man....Walsh.......love it!

Apachedriver

John Walsh wasn't brought down by his opponents; he was brought down by his low intelligence and poor character. This has been an embarrassing episode in Montana political history.

wondering

They need a new face and a lot of money. Lots of time left. Someone with no baggage would be a smart move. Could make it interesting.

Run - A- Mook

Which Republican would you pick?

Greg Strandberg
Greg Strandberg

You can still get a lot done for Veterans and those suffering from PTSD here in Montana, Senator Walsh. Just over 4 months is a lot of time. I wish you luck and hope you can pull it off!

Frenchtown Fellow

My bet is Schweitzer changes his mind pretty quickly. The likelihood of his presidential aspirations are even worse than Rick Perry's. This slot would be a good platform for him and his bully pulpit, as well as pull the Dem's you-know-whats out of the fire.

gato

Schweitzer definitely has a pair. He would wipe the floor with Daines. It would be a smackdown of epic proportions. I just don't see him running, I don't see him having the patience nor the temperament for that environment.

BJackson

Apparently, Schweitzer don't think so, he declined, and said, he don't want to run. Give it up, Daines, will be the next Senator from Montana..

gato

If Montana were a Blue state Daines would not win even with Walsh's failure. Obviously it is not. Odds are the Republicans will not gain control of the Senate so his nomination will be to no advantage to the Republican Party. IMO

BJackson

Gato, the key is, Montana is not a blue state, Missoula may be a blue city, but the majority of the rest of the state leans red, so your statement is moot. Also, many national annalists believe the GOP will win the house in Nov. Also after this Debacle with Obama, it will only take a GOP dog with a note in its mouth to take the White House in 2016. For good or bad, the winds of politics are going to swing in the next two years.

Miss Perfect

nope! YOUR man is WALSH.....live with it ......loser.

gato

I would have voted for a yellow dog.

Chuck Feney
Chuck Feney

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!

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