- Associated Press - Friday, August 8, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - This week, plagiarism allegations proved to be too much for Sen. John Walsh, who ended his campaign for U.S. Senate. That left Montana Democratic Party officials scrambling to organize a convention where they’ll name a replacement candidate. A look at the week’s most interesting and important developments in Montana’s election campaigns.


After days of silence from Sen. John Walsh and his campaign, he officially ended his run for U.S. Senate on Thursday. Earlier in the week, Montana newspapers called for him to bow out due to allegations that he used others’ work without attribution in a 2007 research paper to earn a master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College. The school’s investigation begins Aug. 15. Walsh said in a statement that his paper had become too much of a distraction. A former lieutenant governor and decorated veteran who served in Iraq, Walsh was appointed to the Senate in February by Gov. Steve Bullock. He said he plans to keep the seat until January 2015.


In the wake of Walsh’s withdrawal, Montana Democratic Party officials say they’ll hold a special nominating convention Aug. 16 in Helena to select a replacement candidate in the U.S. Senate race. The convention will start at 9 a.m. at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds and will include leaders from county party committees, federal and statewide elected officials and the party’s executive board. The intent is to have a candidate nominated by the end of the day. A new candidate must be selected before Aug. 20, and he or she will run against Republican Rep. Steve Daines and Libertarian Roger Roots.


Candidates in both the U.S. House and Senate races had agreed to attend a debate in Billings on Sept. 27, according to The Billings Gazette and staff with several campaign offices. The date and other details will be confirmed after a new Democratic U.S. Senate candidate is chosen, Darrell Ehrlick with the Gazette said Friday.


Daines visited multiple agriculture-related businesses around Montana this week and held discussions with farmers, ranchers and others about issues in agriculture. He learned about research to develop new grain varieties in Bozeman and toured the Miller Coors Plant in Power and the Montana State Grain Laboratory in Great Falls, among other stops.

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