U.S. Senator John Walsh of Montana has dropped out of the race to keep his seat in Congress after plagiarism accusations mired his campaign.
The withdraw comes after the U.S. Army War College launched an investigation into a 2007 research paper Walsh wrote that reportedly contained many incorrectly cited passages. (Video via KECI)
The New York Times broke the story on July 23rd. The report highlights the attribution errors and accuses the Army veteran of copying "an entire page nearly word-for-word from a Harvard paper." Plus it says, "each of his six conclusions is copied from a document from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace without attribution." Though Walsh said he didn't "intentionally" copy any of the passages.
Whether it was intentional or not, the backlash in the Montana media was pretty scathing.
USA Today points out two Montana newspapers blasted the Senator's actions in the past week.
In a statement recorded by The Billings Gazette, Walsh said, “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.”
So now the question is, do the Democrats even have a shot at snagging the soon-to-be vacated chair in Senate?
It looks unlikely. Walsh has been trailing behind Republican challenger Steve Daines by sizeable margins most of the race — that's even before The New York Times published the plagiarism story. Then again maybe a fresh face is exactly what the race needs.
And Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics told Fox News the Dems don't really have a lot of options for replacement candidates.
"There is literally only one person who's potentially available and that's former governor Brian Schweitzer. He didn't run before. He could've been the front-runner." But that was before Schweitzer said he wasn't going to seek Walsh's seat.
A couple of other names being tossed around as possible replacements for the Democrats nod include former president of the National Abortion Rights Action League - Pro-Choice America Nancy Keenan and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger.
Walsh said he will remain in his seat until his term ends in January. Democrats have until Aug. 20th to find another candidate before the November elections.