HELENA – Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Bohlinger rapped Montana’s two sitting U.S. senators and “D.C. insiders” on Monday for their early support of fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. John Walsh, saying they should let Montana voters do the choosing.

Bohlinger’s criticism stems in part from a fundraiser that U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester – both Montana Democrats – are hosting Wednesday in Washington, D.C., for Walsh.

The invitation to the fundraiser also lists Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., as a “special guest,” and suggests donations of $500 to $5,000.

“(Schumer’s) probably never even been to Montana,” Bohlinger said. “What the hell does he have to say about Montana and its politics?”

“I am really troubled by the involvement of the Washington insiders in a Montana Democratic senatorial primary race,” he added. “They should have no business of trying to influence an outcome of an election here.”

Bohlinger, 77, who served as Montana’s lieutenant governor from 2005-12, officially joined the race for Montana’s open U.S. Senate seat last week. He is competing for the Democratic nomination with Walsh, 53, the current lieutenant governor, and Dirk Adams, a rancher and attorney from Wilsall.

All three men are attempting to succeed Baucus, who is retiring next year after six terms in the U.S. Senate.

Bohlinger said he found it “inappropriate” for Montana’s two Democratic U.S. senators to get involved in a Democratic primary race for a U.S. Senate seat.

A spokeswoman for Tester said the senator “respects Bohlinger and his years of service to the people of Montana,” but that Tester had committed to helping Walsh and with the fundraiser well before Bohlinger got into the race.

Baucus’ office declined to comment.

Michelle Mayorga, Walsh’s campaign manager, said only that Walsh is “a distinguished military leader, not a politician,” and that he is running because he wants to fix the “broken” status quo in Congress.

When asked why Walsh shouldn’t be raising money for his campaign in Washington, D.C., Bohlinger said the primary contest should be focused on Montanans and Montana donors.

“I’ll be raising money, but it will be far lesser amounts than the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (of Washington, D.C.) will pour into Walsh’s campaign fund,” Bohlinger said. “Mine will be money that comes from Montanans.

“I’m really offended by the DSCC and their interest in this (primary).”

Bohlinger also appeared on MSNBC on Monday night to talk about the race.

The Montana Senate race is expected to be one of the most-watched races in the country, as Republicans try to pick up a Democratic-held seat in their quest to win control of the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., announced last week that he’s running for the seat, and GOP newcomer David Leaser of Kalispell also is in the race.

Missoulian State Bureau reporter Mike Dennison can be reached at 1-800-525-4920 or by email at mike.dennison@lee.net.

(4) comments

walter12
walter12

Missoula is not Montana. Here we are infested with Obamanites and leftists, the rest of the state is not like that at all. After what this Obama Creature has done to the medical industry and the insurance industry and to our hospital system with his nightmare and monstrosity called ObamaCare, let's see what happens in 2014. It could be a very bad year for Obama's followers, politically.

montananurse
montananurse

I already emailed my senators about this very subject.

montanamuralist
montanamuralist

Schumer may not have been to Montana but neither have all the big money Daines will get from his corporate masters. Pipe down and get out of the race. Walsh is a decent guy and has a strong military background. He is not a Washington insider and has barely been in helena. That qualifed Daines to serve in the House and after a few months he thinks he can be a Senator...all he has to do is follow the orders of the government shutdown specialists he supports. No, let Walsh alone and lets get on with this battle. Not many I have talked to are very happy with the Republicans right now except for the flamers that comment here and want to keep the government shut down...a small minority.

Dubs
Dubs

News flash--the government is NOT shut down. Sorry you missed that. We need more than just a "decent" guy in the senate, we need someone that will represent the people of Montana without all the political pandering that is present with Max and Jon. Sure, some people are not happy with the Republicans but with Obamacare spinning out of control towards total failure, even the most ardent dems will have trouble supporting the tax and spend party. One more thing that is not widely publicized is that Walsh has 3 IG complaints filed against him and can not be promoted because of misdeeds in Iraq. Sweitzer picked him and is sorry he did.

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