Can the Senate's Newest Appointee Win a Full Term?
Republicans are hoping to win one of two U.S. Senate seats in Montana for the first time since the Chicago White Stockings became the Chicago Cubs and won the first of two consecutive World Series championships.
Rep. Steve Daines (R) and Sen. John Walsh (D) won Tuesday’s Senate primary. Neither shied away from the negative campaigning that characterized their primary season.
"Today, Montanans sent a clear message that they are ready to change Washington and fight for more jobs, and less government,” Daines said in a statement Tuesday night. “Montanans can no longer afford a U.S. Senate – or an appointed senator— that follows President Obama and rubber-stamps failed policies like Obamacare, job-killing energy regulations, and trillions of dollars in wasteful Washington spending.”
"Every day I hear from seniors threatened by a Congressman who has tried twice to privatize their Medicare. I hear from parents with full-time jobs who still struggle to feed their children; from veterans who cannot access the healthcare services they were promised; and from women who worry that Washington politicians will take away their right to make their own healthcare decisions," Walsh said in his primary election victory statement Tuesday night.
Walsh wants his first full six-year term in the Senate. The 33-year veteran of the Montana National Guard, who rose to the rank of adjutant general and led 700 members of the Guard to Iraq, was appointed to the Senate seat Max Baucus vacated to become the U.S. ambassador to China.
Walsh was elected to the office of lieutenant governor of Montana after he retired from the National Guard. From there he went to the Senate to complete Baucus’ term.
Daines is a chemical engineer who left Proctor & Gamble to return to Bozeman, Mont., to work with his parents in the family’s construction business. He left his U.S. House seat to run in the Republican Senate primary.
Daines and his fellow GOP members are hoping they will be able to win a Senate seat this November that was last held by a Republican (Joseph Dixon) in 1907.
Even though they were not running against each other in the primaries, you wouldn’t know it by watching the TV ads in which Daines and Walsh went after each other during the spring primary season in Montana.
The fireworks won’t stop exploding until Montanans start shopping for their Thanksgiving turkeys.
Walsh told reporters following his victory in the Democratic Party primary Tuesday night that he won’t change his style of campaigning and expects the Daines camp to “try to swift boat my career,” referring to the ads that sank Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.
One of the most recent TV campaigns featured an attack by Daines on Walsh alleging he had mismanaged tax dollars while serving as the administrator of the Montana Department of Military Affairs.
The ad also accused Walsh of “voting with Obama to put America deeper in debt” because of votes to increase the nation’s debt ceiling twice, once last year and again this year. However, as the Billings Gazette pointed out, the ad failed to note Daines also voted twice to raise the debt ceiling.
Daines has also charged Walsh with being slow to respond to the Veterans Administration scandal that erupted in May.