Will a Democratic candidate for Senate in Montana please stand up?; Update: Candidate found?

posted at 10:01 am on August 8, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Theoretically, Senator John Walsh’s withdrawal from the 2014 election left the Democrats enough time to find another candidate to put on the ballot. They have until August 20th to nominate a candidate, so Montana Democrats don’t have to find a judge to allow a Torricelli Switch. With less than 90 days to go, however, no one seems to want the job, including the one man who would have given them the best opportunity to remain competitive:

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer says he won’t run for U.S. Senate after Sen. John Walsh dropped his election campaign Thursday. …

Schweitzer announced that he wouldn’t run on Twitter and confirmed it to The Associated Press. He said in a Facebook post that he was flattered his name was considered, and that he’ll support whoever emerges as the candidate.

Earlier Thursday, Walsh said in a statement to supporters that he is leaving the race but will keep the seat he was appointed to until his term ends in January 2015.

This was Schweitzer’s second demurral. He had an opportunity to run for this seat long before Walsh got appointed to fill out the remainder of Max Baucus’ term and get a leg up on the midterms. Schweitzer passed at the time, as most presumed he wanted to run a populist campaign for President. Then came his “gaydar” comment about Eric Cantor and a few other impolitic bon mots, and now Schweitzer apparently just wants some obscurity for a while.

While Democrats in other parts of the country may breathe a sigh of relief for avoiding the burden of Schweitzer’s comments, their brethren in Montana have to lament losing their best shot at offering a competitive challenge to Steve Daines, who was favored to beat Walsh even before the plagiarism scandal. After Plan B collapsed, so did Plans C, D, and E, according to Rebecca Berg at the Washington Examiner:

The candidate will need to launch a campaign with only three months until Election Day, for a Senate seat most Democrats have given up on winning. “I think it’s accepted as a lost cause at this point,” said one Democratic strategist with ties to Montana.

These Democrats have said they won’t run, but at least some people in their party are floating the idea in one last effort to keep the Senate seat in play[.]

Berg goes down the speculative list that emerged when Walsh suspended his campaign earlier this week. EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock declined yesterday, while former NARAL president Nancy Keenan hasn’t commented. Keenan just came back to Montana after 13 years in Washington, though, and even while Allahpundit is correct in that the anti-abortion impulse may not be as strong in Montana, neither is NARAL’s abortion-on-demand-at-any-point absolutism, either. Berg notes two names not on Politico’s list, former legislators Carol and Pat Williams, who are also married to each other — and both of whom declined to jump in. The only name left besides Keenan is John Bohlinger, who couldn’t get to 25% in the Democratic primary this year.

At some point, Democrats have to give strong consideration to conceding the seat to Daines. He’s going to win it anyway, and putting up a candidate without any name power in Montana will force them to spend money on the race to maintain their credibility. Why waste the resources, especially for either a Democrat who lost by 50 points in his own party’s primary or for an all-but-carpetbagging abortion absolutist in a red state? Just tossing anyone up against Daines would have a strong whiff of desperation that might infect the rest of their races in Montana — especially if the nominee has to jump belatedly into a campaign and falls flat on his/her face. Schweitzer was their best opportunity to maintain the façade of credibility, even with the “gaydar” comments. They should take a hint from his withdrawal and cut their losses.

CNN’s panel notes that there wasn’t a rush to get in the race after Walsh’s exit:

That should tell them something, too.

Update: Democrats may have a candidate after all, but their odds look longer than ever:

Montana state Rep. Franke Wilmer (D) is moving towards a bid for Sen. John Walsh’s (D-Mont.) seat less than a day after Walsh announced he’s dropping his campaign.

Wilmer, who lost a 2012 House primary, is a Montana State University professor and favorite of some progressive activists in the state. She’d face very long odds of defeating Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who has run a strong campaign and led Walsh by large margins in recent polling.

That’s putting it mildly. Montana is already a deep-red state, where Democrats who appeal statewide usually take a centrist line. A progressive academic is about as good of a fit there as in, oh, Texas. Putting that kind of a candidate on the ticket in Montana might allow the GOP to nationalize the race in a way that will hurt supposed centrists in Georgia, Kentucky, and elsewhere, too, especially if she gets significant press.

Democrats have to make a choice at their August 16th convention. “None of the above” might still be their best option.


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They’ll get in to the race. They’re searching the internet for the speeches of others that they can steal for their inaugural campaign kickoff.

Wino on August 8, 2014 at 10:05 AM

The Dems should run a LGBTQ, Hispanic just ‘returned’ from Honduras.

vnvet on August 8, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Hillary Clinton isn’t doing anything these days.

Occams Stubble on August 8, 2014 at 10:14 AM

“Teacher,, Teacher,,, I know, call on me,,,,,Teacherrrrrrrrrrr”

OK, we know you always have something to say, get it out….

“Joe Biden” he gets to select who it is………carma ya know.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on August 8, 2014 at 10:15 AM

lotsa injuns out that way..maybe lizzie warren has a cousin who is available?

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on August 8, 2014 at 10:18 AM

I think Dems should encourage Walsh to reconsider. It was a research paper at the Army War College, it isn’t like it was a Harvard thesis or something important! A youthful indescretion that should be overlooked because of all the good work Walsh is doing on behalf of the folks in Montana.

Happy Nomad on August 8, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Why is there a picture of obaME! as the photo caption for this thread?

VegasRick on August 8, 2014 at 10:29 AM

The rats don’t even want to get on this ship.

formwiz on August 8, 2014 at 10:31 AM

lotsa injuns out that way..maybe lizzie warren has a cousin who is available?

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on August 8, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Why are you such a racist.

RickB on August 8, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Chalk up a win for the GOP in the win column.

Tater Salad on August 8, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Check out the CNN screen-shot…Anytime something goes wrong for the Dems, the MSM trots out Nixon or some other low point for Repubs…Very telling and predictable…

Entrephil on August 8, 2014 at 10:35 AM

The answer isn’t rocket science. However the problem is a dumbed down population and a ruling elite who party with each other behind the scenes no matter what they pretend to spout out publicly.

bgibbs1000 on August 8, 2014 at 10:36 AM

The answer isn’t rocket science. However the problem is a dumbed down population and a ruling elite who party with each other behind the scenes no matter what they pretend to spout out publicly.

bgibbs1000 on August 8, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Oops wrong thread.

bgibbs1000 on August 8, 2014 at 10:39 AM

LOL! I like this. More GOP infighting D-rats fighting..

You go, Mo Brooks latrine-rats, don’t back off an inch.

Ned Pepper, the plagiarizer of HA on August 7, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Schadenfreude on August 8, 2014 at 10:49 AM

The DNC / Mafia’s East Coast Division aka New Joisey Supreme Court just tried to force Lautenberg on the ballot.

viking01 on August 8, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Well if they don’t mind another plagiarist.

In Arkansas, Rep. Tom Cotton has nothing but gibberish to add to the healthcare debate, refusing to answer clearly what he’d do to protect the people in his state that have so recently gained health insurance if his vision of repeal is realized.

And Sen. Mitch McConnell is, if anything, even more incoherent on Kentucky’s Obamcare program, Kynect.

Ned Pepper on August 7, 2014 at 9:19 PM

Now from DailyKos

In Arkansas, Rep. Tom Cotton has nothing but gibberish to add to the healthcare debate, refusing to answer clearly what he’d do to protect the people in his state that have so recently gained health insurance if his vision of repeal is realized. And Sen. Mitch McConnell is, if anything, even more incoherent on Kentucky’s Obamcare program, Kynect.

LOLOLOL….word for word.

Ded Pecker can’t even reword anything to even make it sound like an orginal thought. LOLOLOL

Sing daisy for us b!tch.

HumpBot Salvation on August 7, 2014 at 10:37 PM

HumpBot Salvation on August 8, 2014 at 10:56 AM

They have to put someone in the slot.

Why? Just on the incredibly off chance that Daines is run over by a steamship in the next ninety days, and dies…

JohnGalt23 on August 8, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Respectfully disagree Ed. Schweitzers got a bunch of baggage…besides being a Jackaz.. He doesn’t want his false 501c etc to be even more exposed. The GOP has made it clear to him there is more.
I’m no fan of Brad Dayspring but you should check out his twitter…he’s been trolling the MT Dems…pretty funny.

MontanaMmmm on August 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Good start for Rs taking over senate.

If no opponent, then RNC doesn’t have to spend any money.

txdoc on August 8, 2014 at 11:13 AM

The leftists are all in shock today. None are here to defend their oaf, who’s chief.

Schadenfreude on August 8, 2014 at 11:15 AM

In keeping with a carpet bagging family tradition I’d suggest Chelsea Clinton except for her age…

Kraken on August 8, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Its nice to see that for once its a dim candidate that imploded. I think dims will concede and move on. Rd didn’t run anyone against Pryor in 2008, so it’s not as though this has never happened before.

cat_owner on August 8, 2014 at 11:19 AM

I give you ….the MT Democratic Party.
http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2013/04/05/2058053/

MontanaMmmm on August 8, 2014 at 11:28 AM

One down 6 more to go, or is it 5?

jake49 on August 8, 2014 at 11:28 AM

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on August 8, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Montana native here. Shut up.

kozanne on August 8, 2014 at 11:33 AM

I hear Liz Cheney is available and willing to relocate.

Toocon on August 8, 2014 at 11:38 AM

I hear Liz Cheney is available and willing to relocate.

Toocon on August 8, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Montana/Wyoming….. As if those are really two separate states. ;0

Happy Nomad on August 8, 2014 at 11:52 AM

lotsa injuns out that way..maybe lizzie warren has a cousin who is available?

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on August 8, 2014 at 10:18 AM

You gotta admit, this takes tremendous chutzpa from a leftist (supposed defenders of minorities).

Mitoch55 on August 8, 2014 at 11:53 AM

I give you ….the MT Democratic Party.
http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2013/04/05/2058053/

MontanaMmmm on August 8, 2014 at 11:28 AM

I can’t decide if this is better than, equal to, or worse than the fleebaggers in Wisconsin.

Mitoch55 on August 8, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Mitoch55 on August 8, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Only one (a Native American D- senator was chosen to flee, they thought they could use the race card. guymissoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/montana-state-sen-augare-charged-with-dui-obstruction/article_da91ea8e-dabf-11e2-b3bd-0019bb2963f4.html

MontanaMmmm on August 8, 2014 at 12:16 PM

In keeping with a carpet bagging family tradition I’d suggest Chelsea Clinton except for her age…

Kraken on August 8, 2014 at 11:16 AM

According to the Constitution, the age requirement is 30 years old. Chelsea was born Feb 27, 1980.

Mitoch55 on August 8, 2014 at 12:21 PM

MontanaMmmm on August 8, 2014 at 12:16 PM

I was referring to when the Dem Wisconsin State Senators fled the state rather than engage in a vote back during the Wisconsin union kerfluffle.

In both instances, the Democrats were acting like children who weren’t getting their way.

Mitoch55 on August 8, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Walsh was forced out because the demonrats were afraid that his presence at the top of the ballot was going to hurt the state and local demonrats running for office down the ballot.

They’re looking at a total disaster statewide come November. Serves them well.

conservative hispanic on August 8, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Speaking of carpet bagging…. This Frankie woman.. I had to look her up by the way … Born in DC…PhDs in Maryland… Progressive to the max. They are going for the college vote, you know the ones that vote in two or more states.

MontanaMmmm on August 8, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Mitoch55

I know, that is what I was trying to convey..I hate this ipad by the way.
They chose one dem to flee to avoid a vote.

MontanaMmmm on August 8, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Will a Democratic candidate for Senate in Montana please stand up?; Update: Candidate found?

Does the candidate have horns or an udder?

right2bright on August 8, 2014 at 12:40 PM

According to the Constitution, the age requirement is 30 years old. Chelsea was born Feb 27, 1980.

Mitoch55 on August 8, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Let’s see then: 2014-1980, integrate over the social worker, divide by the masses, and don’t forget to carry the bum…

By God you’re right. She IS old enough! And her mom already has the bag…

Montana, what are you waiting for?

Kraken on August 8, 2014 at 12:44 PM

MontanaMmmm:

I checked her out on Wikipedia. She’s a member of the Montana Federation of Teachers, Montana Education Association AND the AFL-CIO. Sucking off the public teat since 1991 at MSU and the State Legislature since 2007. That’s double-dipping, taking more of her “fair share”, IMHO. She’s “a single mother” (no mention of ever being married), and she’s involved in “human rights”. She looks like a real dyed-in-the-wool libturd. Just what the state and the country needs./SARC

conservative hispanic on August 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Will a Democratic candidate for Senate in Montana please stand up?

Who cares? There is no requirement that there be an opponent.

earlgrey on August 8, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Montana Democrats don’t have to find a judge to allow a Torricelli Switch.

Only republicans knew about the Torricelli switch, the media did not actually report it that way, they said the republicans in NJ were DISENFRANCHISING democrats by running a candidate for election,when democrats were unhappy with the one they had chosen; when the democrats candidate had some problems with rumored campaign contributions from North Korea.

It was an October surprise, the candidate was losing and might be in trouble with the law after the election, and polling showed that voters knew he was getting funding from a person with ties to the North Korean Communist regime. He was losing so he “stepped out” of the race. The ballots were ready to go, and democrats would only see Torricelli on the ballot. The democrats demanded another new candidate even though the time had past for choosing theirs. The law indicated that Torricelli was their candidate. So, they took it to a judge and said they were being DISENFRANCHISED.”

They cried and whined and got a judge to let them put a candidate of their choice in his place. Without a primary, nothing customary about it, if your candidate is losing, you can get a new one.

Fleuries on August 8, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Putting that kind of a candidate on the ticket in Montana might allow the GOP to nationalize the race in a way that will hurt supposed centrists in Georgia, Kentucky, and elsewhere, too, especially if she gets significant press.

Well let’s hope so, because there is nothing “centrist” about Grimes or Nunn.

cat_owner on August 8, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Who? Dirk Adams was on Talk Back Montana radio program this morning and he’s salivating over being the chosen one. He claims to be more to the left on positions than Walsh. Goody! And a bigger environmentalist. All he could talk about was the superfund site in Butte, called Berkley Pit. It is very bad but none of the D govs or senators has tried to do anything about it for decades. Adams lost to Walsh in the primary and all I remember of him is that when questioned he said he didn’t know enough about that point to have formed an opinion. Well, he is a lawyer and graduated from TADA Harvard Law. He’s also the largest pig farmer in MT.

Kissmygrits on August 8, 2014 at 6:24 PM

Oh, and the head of the R party in MT has asked for an investigation of the D gov and the whole D process of choosing a candidate. This is getting to be hotter than summer time here.

Kissmygrits on August 8, 2014 at 6:26 PM

If nutcases hurt the Dem brand, then Reid, Pelosi, Wasserman-Schultz, Biden, etc would have killed their party by now.

mockmook on August 8, 2014 at 6:57 PM

In keeping with a carpet bagging family tradition I’d suggest Chelsea Clinton except for her age…
Kraken on August 8, 2014 at 11:16 AM

This has to be doable, rules do not apply to Clintons. I want it just for the spectacle. Chelsea in a cowboy hat. Those leather pants and riding boots. Daddy warming up the crowds.

Cliff by the Ford on August 9, 2014 at 3:59 PM