MT Senate: Walsh appointed to serve out Baucus’ term

John Walsh

Rather than appointing a placeholder to serve the remainder of Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-MT) term, Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) made a move on Friday that Democrats hope will Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D-MT) an edge in November.

Baucus had already declared that he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2014, creating an opportunity for Republicans to gain a seat in the Senate. But when the President Obama appointed Baucus to serve as serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to China, it was quickly hinted that Bullock would choose Walsh, who was already running for the Senate seat, to give him a boost against likely Republican opponent, Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT).

Sure enough, on Friday, a day after the Senate confirmed Baucus’ nomination, that’s exactly what Bullock did. Walsh is the next senator from Montana and he wants you to know how independent he is:

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) will be Max Baucus’s replacement in the Senate, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced Friday.
Bullock said when making his decision, he was looking for many of the same qualities he looked for in picking Walsh as his running mate in 2012.

“Today, My friend and my colleague embarks on a new mission. I introduce to you United States Sen. John Walsh,” said Bullock.

Walsh promised to work across the aisle as senator, emphasizing many of his campaign’s themes in his remarks.

“There are too many politicians who put their own political agendas ahead of what’s right, too many folks that don’t take their responsibilities seriously. That’s not how I work, and that’s not how Montanans work,” Walsh said. “This isn’t about party, this is about leaders who will put Montana and Montanans first.”

With the most recent poll in the race showing him trailing his likely Republican opponent, Walsh is going to have to establish himself as a politician who is independent of his party if he wants to have any chance of winning.

Democrats are fine with that, so it seems, because, if Walsh wins, it would help them retain control of the chamber when the next Congress begins in 2015. They’ll let him spend from now until election voting against President Obama’s agenda.

Walsh has already cozied up to lobbyists and the Washington establishment. So, the tea leaves show that if he wins in November, Walsh will become a rubber stamp for the White House, just like every other Democrat in the Senate.

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