Can the Senate's Newest Appointee Win a Full Term?

Walsh is fighting back against the Daines ads attacking his military record by recruiting a group of Montana veterans to come to his defense.

They have organized a new coalition, the “Walsh Warriors,” that the Walsh campaign described June 2 “as a growing coalition of veterans committed to setting the record straight about Walsh’s military career, including a tour in Iraq where he commanded the largest deployment of Montana National Guard forces since World War II.”

“John served our country proudly, and continues to serve Montana in his new role. We won’t let Washington insiders and special interests tarnish his distinguished record,” said Col. Nikki DeWolf, who under Walsh was only the second woman in Montana National Guard history to be promoted to the rank of colonel.

“We know John, we’ve worked with him and saw firsthand the leadership that qualifies him for this office. We’re proud to stand with him against shameful swiftboat attacks.”

Walsh hasn’t keep his powder dry for the general election campaign, nor has he relegated himself to playing defense. He accused Daines May 20 of creating jobs in China while working at Proctor & Gamble by moving U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas.

The next day, Walsh issued a press release charging Daines was “criminalizing choice” by sponsoring a personhood constitutional amendment in the House that would make abortions illegal, even in the case of rape. Walsh has alleged that it would outlaw some common forms of birth control, but the short bill doesn’t specifically mention this.

And one day after that press release, the Walsh campaign pointed out that although Daines had voted in support of the Violence Against Women Act, he had voted against funding for the legislation.

Even though he has the advantage of incumbency, albeit it limited — Walsh was appointed to the Senate in February — Daines has held double-digit leads in recent polling of Montana voters.

Daines also has a much healthier campaign bank account, with more than $1.88 million in cash on hand, according to the Federal Elections Commission as of May 14.

That compares to $315,870 in cash on hand for the Walsh campaign.

Democrats and Republicans will also be fighting to pick up Montana’s only seat in the US House in November, the seat that Daines left to run for the Senate.

John Lewis (D) and Ryan Zinke (R) won their party’s congressional primaries Tuesday and will face each other in the November general election.