Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh, a Democrat, was appointed Friday to fill the unexpired term of longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who is leaving the Senate to serve as U.S. ambassador to China.
Walsh, 53, was already an announced candidate for the seat Baucus had planned to vacate at the end of this year. His appointment by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock gives the former adjutant general of the Montana National Guard a leg up in the November contest to replace the six-term senator.
|General John Walsh, Senator Designate|
Friday's announcement sets up what's expected to be a pitched and costly battle crucial to GOP hopes of taking over the Senate — hopes that are contingent on winning red state seats now held by Democrats.
Baucus, the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, revealed last April that he would retire this year at the end of his term; his plans were upended in December when President Obama tapped him for the ambassadorship.
He was unanimously confirmed Thursday by his Senate colleagues.
"I wanted to appoint someone who I believed would represent the values Montanans hold important," Bullock said in announcing the appointment of Walsh, his 2012 running mate. "I wanted to appoint someone who I believed would be working to find solutions, not further dividing our state and nation. And I wanted to appoint someone who I truly believed would wake up each day focused on putting Montana – and Montanans – first."Walsh is hard core military through and through. After Walsh was elected lieutenant governor in Montana it was disclosed that he had been cited for improperly using his military position,
[A]n August 2010 report from the Inspector General of the U.S. Army, obtained by MTN News, says that Walsh improperly used his position in the Guard for his own gain.
The report says Walsh improperly solicited other Guard leaders to join a non-governmental group, the National Guard Association of the United States.
So a Democratic Neo-con, power abusing thug, eh? Exactly what Montana and our country needs. No budget discipline anywhere on anything and squirrely ethics. God help us all.