HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock on Friday endorsed his lieutenant governor, John Walsh, in the contested Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

“When my lieutenant governor announced, I said that he was a fine man and I think he’d be a great U.S. senator,” Bullock told reporters.

Bullock said he is backing Walsh over former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, who also is running as a Democratic candidate for senator. Bohlinger, a former Republican legislator from Billings, was lieutenant governor for eight years under Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

“I think the world of John Bohlinger,” Bullock said, but added that he selected Walsh for lieutenant governor because he believed Walsh, former adjutant general of the Montana National Guard, would be a great leader.

“I have no doubt he will be a great leader in the U.S. Senate as well,” Bullock said of Walsh.

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.

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