John Bohlinger

MT Senate: Newly minted Democrat incumbent trails by 14 points

More than a month after his controversial appointment, Sen. John Walsh (D-MT), has been unable to gain any traction in a race that is looking more and more likely to change hands this fall, making it one of the six seats Republicans need to take control of the Senate.

The latest poll out of Montana, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, finds that Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT) holds a 14-point lead, 51/37, over Walsh.

Daines also holds an 18-point lead, 52/34, over another Democratic candidate, former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, who is seen as a long-shot to knock off Walsh in the party’s June 3 primary.

Rather than picking a placeholder, Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) appointed then-Lt. Gov. Walsh to the seat last month after Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) was confirmed to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to China. Baucus was already not running for reelection, having announced his retirement early last year. He wasn’t nominated for the diplomatic post until December. Walsh announced his campaign in October.

Walsh is seen as Democrats’ best shot at keeping the seat in their hands, and they’d hoped that the appointment would give him time to establish himself as someone who is independent of his party and raise his profile.

MT Senate: Democratic candidate compares Republicans to the Taliban

John Bohlinger

Former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger (D-MT) certainly made some headlines last week when he announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Montana. But he did it in a very pathetic, divisive way.

During his announcement, Bohlinger disgustingly compared Tea Party Republicans to the Taliban, religious extremists that once ran the Afghanistan government, and blamed them for the last month’s government shutdown.

“We need to challenge the Tea Party representatives who like the Taliban shut our country down,” Bohlinger said on Wednesday, according to the Billings Gazette, which covered the announcement. The paper also noted that the Montana Democrat also compared the shutdown to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Bohlinger served as Lt. Governor of Montana from 2005 to 2013, serving as a Republican on a joint ticket with Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT). He backed Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) in his re-election bid last year. He left the Republican Party earlier this year.

“In the ’70s and ’80s, the Republican Party was fiscally responsible. They had a social conscience. It’s a different party today,” Bohlinger said in July, according to the Independent Record. “I have a hard time identifying with the hard right. The Republican Party left me in the ’90s.”


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