Walsh Drops Out of Senate Race - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Walsh Drops Out of Senate Race

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MISSOULA -

Senator John Walsh announced Thursday afternoon that he is dropping out of the U.S. Senate race after allegations that he plagiarized a portion of his master's thesis surfaced last month.

Back in February Democratic Governor Steve Bullock appointed Walsh to fill the seat of then Senator Max Baucus who was appointed as Ambassador to China.

A public opinion poll that was released today showed that Sen. Walsh had dropped 7 percentage points behind Republican nominee and Congressman Steve Daines since the New York Times broke the plagiarism scandal.

Politicians have fallen and some have even come back from sex scandals, drug scandals, and political fraud. But plagiarism is not something most politicians make headlines for.

Franke Wilmer, a political scientists at Montana State University, says it's not just plagiarism. It's the fact that the plagiarism happened in a military academy at a time when military cheating scandals are already making headlines.

"If you add to the sexual harassment scandals, the rape in the military, we have a real organizational problem there...and the people who are hurt the most besides the young men and women who are victims of abuse, are those serving honorably in uniform who don't cheat and who don't plagiarize."

Whoever runs on the democratic ticket will have to face Republican nominee and Montana congressman Steve Daines who had been holding a lead in the polls and fundraising well before the plagiarism reports broke.

Andrea Marcoccio, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party, says the party is doing what it can to keep a democrat alongside Montana's now senior senator Jon Tester.

"It's really important for him to have a partner in the senate to work with him to pass made in Montana solutions and fight for our values...if it ends up in the hands of Republicans we know exactly what their plan is. They're going to sell of public lands to the highest bidder. They are going to give tax breaks to corporations."

Walsh released the following statement after the announcement:

Montanans,

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.

The 2007 research paper from my time at the U.S. Army War College has become a distraction from the debate you expect and deserve. I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. Senator. You deserve someone who will always fight for Montana, and I will.

I am proud that with your support, we held our opponent 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. 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.

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.

Sincerely,

John Walsh

 

Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement:

I respect Senator Walsh's decision to step out of the race, I know it was a difficult one. John has dedicated his life to serving the people of Montana and our country. 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.


The Montana Democratic Party released the following statement:

Senator Walsh's life has been and continues to be service to our nation and all Montanans. From 33 years in the National Guard, to serving as Lt. Governor to his time in the U.S. Senate, John Walsh has sacrificed significantly for our country and is to be commended.

The Montana Democratic Party looks forward to an open and transparent opportunity for Democrats to come together to decide our new nominee. As we move forward in this race, we must remember this election is not about one person; it's about Montana. This election is about ensuring our public lands aren't sold off to the highest bidder, women are free to make their own health care decisions, every Montanan has the opportunity to succeed, and our kids and grandkids are not denied quality education.

Jim Larson, Chair of the Montana Democratic Party


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