Schweitzer, Bullock won't replace Walsh in Senate race

2014-08-08T10:00:00Z 2014-10-20T08:50:36Z Schweitzer, Bullock won't replace Walsh in Senate raceBy CHARLES S. JOHNSON Missoulian State Bureau

HELENA – A number of Democrats expressed interest in seeking their party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate to replace Sen. John Walsh, who ended his campaign Thursday.

And a number of prominent Democrats ruled themselves out, including Gov. Steve Bullock, former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau and state Auditor Monica Lindeen.

The Montana Democratic Party will call a state central committee nominating convention in the coming days to select a candidate to replace Walsh on the ballot and face off against Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines and Libertarian Roger Roots in the general election.

The two Democrats who lost to Walsh in the June primary, rancher Dirk Adams of Wilsall and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger of Helena, said they’re interested in the nomination, although Bohlinger said he’s not actively seeking the appointment.

“If the Democratic Party delegates think I’m the best qualified, I would say yes, with the proviso that they do two things: provide a sufficient amount of money to run a credible campaign and provide a large workforce of volunteers around the state who will go door-to-door to deliver campaign material and to put up signs,” Bohlinger said.

Adams simply said he was interested in seeking the nomination.

Three state legislators – Rep. Amanda Curtis of Butte, Sen. Dave Wanzenried of Missoula and Rep. Franke Wilmer of Bozeman – expressed interest in seeking the nomination.

“Who would not want to run against Steve Daines?” asked Curtis, a teacher and first-term lawmaker. “He’s taken so many terrible votes. Daines is so wrong for Montana on so many issues, I’d be crazy not to run against Steve Daines.”

Wilmer said she probably will run, but was waiting to see what former state school Superintendent Nancy Keenan decided. Keenan told the State Bureau earlier in the week she wasn’t interested in seeking the Senate nomination, but couldn’t be reached Thursday.

“I think there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have a woman candidate,” said Wilmer, a college professor who completed her fourth term in the House.

She cited a recent poll that showed Daines had the support of only 47 percent of Montana voters.

“He has the money, the incumbency and he can’t get over 47 percent,” Wilmer said. “Clearly, there’s room for someone to appeal to the people and be what he’s not.”

Wanzenried said he’s had calls encouraging him to go for the Senate nomination and is interested in being considered.

He cited his nine terms in the Legislature, his service in the executive branch of state government, including as chief of staff to Gov. Ted Schwinden, and his more than 25 years in transportation from driving truck, delivering freight to being a transportation broker.

“It gives me a blend of background that’s truly unique,” he said.

Later Thursday, Anna Whiting Sorrell, of Evaro, former director of the state Department of Health and Human Services and former state director of the Indian Health Services, said Indian people have been the margin of victory in many Montana races, and “we need to be a voice and a force and should be considered for these positions.”

Asked if she is interested in seeking the nomination, Sorrell said, “If it means that’s the way the Indian voice is heard, yes.”

Former state Sen. Carol Williams of Missoula, who was mentioned by some as a possible U.S. Senate candidate, said she’s not interested in running.

“I think the Democrats are going to have a really good candidate through this process,” Williams said.

A number of people on social media were pushing for Schweitzer to enter the race. He was set to seek the Senate seat last summer and was gearing up to run, but decided at the last minute not to run.

In a post to his Facebook page, Schweitzer said he and his wife, Nancy, love living on Georgetown Lake.

“Although I’m flattered to be on some of the lists of potential U.S. Senate candidates, I respectfully decline to seek the nomination,” wrote the former governor who served two terms. “I enjoyed being in public service as Governor of Montana. I believe in citizen government – where citizens step up to serve then step aside for others to do the same.”

As for Juneau, her spokeswoman Allyson Hagen said, “She’s not interested in running.” Juneau briefly considered running for the Senate last summer but then decided against it.

Lindeen’s spokeswoman, Jennifer McKee, said, “Commissioner Lindeen made up her mind last summer (not to run for the Senate). She’s happy doing the work she was elected to do.”

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

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

(29) Comments

  1. Chuck Feney
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    Chuck Feney - August 11, 2014 6:03 pm
    Governor Schweitzer is like the girl in the backseat saying "No, Nay, Never!", as she removes her knickers!
  2. BJackson
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    BJackson - August 11, 2014 5:45 pm
    David, I didn't know we had anything going on that needs to be done with, sorry you can't discuss issues as an adult and accept that others have far different opinions than you do, don't stomp your feet and cry. It is not that big of a deal.
  3. BJackson
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    BJackson - August 11, 2014 5:44 pm
    Educator, I don't agree with you about Nixon. He was one of the few working on ending the Viet Nam war, he was the president that supported and signed the Endangered species act into law, as well as many other things that were positive for this country.
  4. wjw33
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    wjw33 - August 11, 2014 2:28 pm
    Dusty! Dusty! Dusty!
  5. student4
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    student4 - August 10, 2014 10:01 pm
    David1: FDR and his failed attempt to end the depression. World war two ended the depression. History lesson over..
  6. David1
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    David1 - August 10, 2014 8:31 pm
    You're a military man, and it has long puzzled me why career military people are so Republican, when our major wars were fought and won under Democratic administrations. I do not believe any president or members of either party are indifferent to the security of this nation, including Barack Obama.

    You can thank GWB for Americans' traditional reluctance to put American troops unnecessarily in harm's way. And, don't blame Obama for decreased military spending, brought about by Sequestration, supported also by Republicans, or for holding back on Syria, etc.

    I am also done with you, Sir.
  7. David1
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    David1 - August 10, 2014 8:21 pm
    Student: Congratulations on going to school at 71. It's obvious you are in the extreme right. I resent your labeling me as a "left-leaner." There are some things I agree w/ you on, such as requiring immigrants to speak English. In fact, it should be the official language of this country. If they can't when they come here, they should learn it ASAP.

    I simply disagree with most everything else you say, because I see this country in a different light. As I said before, I hope you study some 20th Century American history to get a better idea of the programs that have benefited this country the most, and which party introduced them.

    You are very extreme right, and I'm not taking the time to debate you on this forum. Good day, Sir.
  8. student4
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    student4 - August 10, 2014 3:35 pm
    My hubby, the Navy guy, is 71. I am well read and really know the difference between watching paint dry and the rambling of die-hard lefties.
  9. student4
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    student4 - August 10, 2014 3:22 pm
    Atheist Educator, Nixon says it all, his handlers and some of his cabinet went to jail and Nixon resigned as should happen this time around. What about Johnson recall in the senate he was quite a remarkable person worked Dem and Repub, Kennedy led the foundation for the Vietnam war, Carter, gas rationing ran our inflation up to fifteen percent. I could go on all I believe were Navy.l am not seventy-one , but am a student
  10. Atheist Educator
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    Atheist Educator - August 10, 2014 8:03 am
    BJackson, Nixon.
  11. BJackson
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    BJackson - August 09, 2014 10:03 pm
    Well David, based on what you have wrote, you are a very disillusioned person, I have more than enough experience in this life, including 30 years in the military, that no longer trusts the commander in chief to understand exactly what Student is saying.

    I don't believe the past Democratic administrations have been positive for our country and in fact believe based on my observations over the years have been very detrimental to our position in the world and our strength as a country.

    I don't consider the current president to be a "creature, or demonic" at all, only ill equipped to be the leader of our country, he had no experience or education as to how to run the country, he was arrogant believing his community organizer position was enough, and it is not. Currently he is the worst President I have experienced in my many years of life and I believe we would be hard pressed to find another as bad.
  12. student4
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    student4 - August 09, 2014 7:46 pm
    Nope. I was not a masters degree Daines received nor a promotion to LTCOL to lead was a 3-problem multiplication exam....biiiiiggggg difference.
  13. student4
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    student4 - August 09, 2014 7:18 pm
    David1. For your short sighted information, I am 71 years old and have lived a lot of the history of our country, including fighting for our country. Also short sighted GWB is no hero of mine. I did not say demonic...maybe I should have. You left leaners seem blind to the point of following this administration's straight into the horrible bubble that soon must burst. If ACA was soooo good, why did all the heads lie about it? It makes no sense to ream the money makers of our society to get bit hard for those non-producers. Now if our economy was freed from the chains of over regulation and absurd taxation, maybe there would be more jobs for people who want to work. All the left feel good programs since 1964 have spent trillions of dollars and the economically challenged members of our population have seen no improvement in their lives. Give them an economy, a tax structure, an incentive and I feel many would work returning pride to those folks that want to work. How do you think we will be able to protect our country's interests in the face of a world gone mad with this president cutting the defense budget (admittedly bloated in the past) to the point we can no longer protect our interests...embassies,
    businesses, military bases, sea lanes, our national borders, our air space, Maybe he can appoint another czar to by-pass congress to protect us. What a fruit basket full of loonies he has appointed. One for instance, Lois Learner...when someone from the government takes the just explains a whole lot of stuff. And let us refer to our educational system. We have fallen many places in world standings in the past 6-years in nearly all categories, but the NEA Union hacks have full support and complicity with this administration to dumb down the population and bait them to believe the government will take care of them. Speak English, close the borders, go back and use the constitution, let God back into schools (and if someone is offended, too damned nobody has a right not to be offended) and let us get this country back in order to again make the American Dream a reality.
  14. David1
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    David1 - August 09, 2014 4:13 pm
    Student, I disagree on all the points you make & I'm not taking the time to counter each one of them. You obviously exaggerate, and it's clear you also consider Obama a "creature" and "demonic." I believe Obama, despite all the criticisms he gets from people like you, is basically doing what the American people want, esp. re: use of our military.

    Your hero, GWB, certainly sobered us up on that. As to Obamacare, it has helped stabilize the security of millions of Americans, and it is largely what the Republicans wanted in the first place. The only reason the Republicans are so incensed about it is that it was Obama, and not Romney, doing it.

    In your lifetime? As a student, you have a lot more lifetime left and a lot more American history to experience before making the kind of charges you make. Speaking of American history, read up on American history of the 20th Century, as well. We Democrats are seeking to continue the positive policies of past Democratic administrations that have helped this nation more than Republican administrations.

    People that are doing this are hardly "creatures" and "demonic." I suggest taking some recent American history courses as part of your general ed. requirements.
  15. student4
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    student4 - August 09, 2014 11:17 am
    David1. He is a creature that has taken this country to what I consider an all time low during my lifetime. Economics, good jobs, freedom, over regulated, absolute idiots on the left side of both the house and senate gobbling up his tainted view of what this country should become. He has weakened our military when the world is a very dangerous place, he has been giving to the illegal aliens when our home people are in such need, he has turned the country into a welfare state and uses that money at the expense of our defense, he has upped the national debt by 7 TRILLION dollars and is funding our government by borrowing from China, he has continued our dependence on energy from those that hate us instead of utilizing our own resources...which makes us subject to blanket head whims. He has destroyed our health care system, lived as a regal king, and has so divided this country between good and bad that it will take years to recover. He has lied, his appointees have lied, his talking heads have lied and he has forsaken the constitution, and advocated for lifestyles and habits that can do no good for the strength of our country...should I go on? BTW, can you mention one thing he has done to strengthened our society or country that has been good for all? Have a nice left leaning day.
  16. Miss Muralist 12
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    Miss Muralist 12 - August 09, 2014 11:06 am
    I heard Daines copied off a schoolmate on a 6th grade math exam. He's probably going to be dropping out any minute.
  17. walter12
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    walter12 - August 09, 2014 7:23 am
    These Obamanites are not about to look like fools this year. They know that 60% or more of the nation despises and loathes this Obama Creature. November will be a bad month for the Dems.
  18. student4
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    student4 - August 09, 2014 3:03 am
    What is perfect about her? What is she really good at?
  19. David1
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    David1 - August 09, 2014 1:06 am
    Why do you call our President a "creature"? I believe either you or someone who thinks like you, also called him "demonic." Why do you people give him these epithets? Be specific, please.
  20. idiot state
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    idiot state - August 08, 2014 6:20 pm
    Montana likes the environmental types. Dirk Adams, no doubt, would have the backing of Tom
    Steyer, the extreme environmentalist who's funding Democrats who're against the Keystone XL Pipeline. Montana's in dire straits but it's a losing battle now, thanks to your Governor who chose Mr.Walsh. LOL...
  21. independent
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    independent - August 08, 2014 10:46 am
    "There's something appealing about someone that's not afraid to go out into the alley and take a beating. Why don't we have that anymore here?" We do, they're called Republicans or Independents.
  22. WhiteHat
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    WhiteHat - August 08, 2014 10:26 am
    How about a mayor of one of the big cities?
  23. Greg Strandberg
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    Greg Strandberg - August 08, 2014 9:16 am
    Personally I'm worried about the future of the Democratic Party in this state - it seems like all their "top-notch personalities" are all too afraid of losing to ever dip their toe in the water.

    There's something appealing about someone that's not afraid to go out into the alley and take a beating. Why don't we have that anymore here? What happened?
  24. fromthewestRU
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    fromthewestRU - August 08, 2014 8:47 am
    Schweitzer is the only one who will win the race. It's not time to step aside; it's time to step up and continue serving the great people of Montana. Take the branding iron to D.C.! The big picture is if Gov. Schweitzer doesn't run, Montana will send two republicans to Washington. For the sake of the country, and the people here in your state, Gov. Schweitzer please run.
  25. walter12
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    walter12 - August 08, 2014 7:13 am
    These Dems know that they would lose badly now and they know that this is not going to be good November for the Dems after 6 years of the Obama Creature.
  26. Chuck Feney
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    Chuck Feney - August 08, 2014 2:59 am
    It's difficult to believe that Governor B.S. can't be coaxed out of the mine to run.
    Of those willing to serve, Franke Wilmer is the most competent.
    Roger Roots deserves a serious look.
  27. Meggen Ryan
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    Meggen Ryan - August 07, 2014 9:53 pm
    My vote goes to Anna Whiting-Sorrell, perfect candidate for Montana.
  28. Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria
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    Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria - August 07, 2014 9:19 pm
    A democrat from Butte cannot be taken seriously. Especially one that is a teacher.
    look at butte. Thats what too many years of democrats does to a town.
  29. Smilely
    Report Abuse
    Smilely - August 07, 2014 8:29 pm
    Rancher Dirk Adams of Wilsall, Montana is by far the best suited for the U.S. Senate.
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