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Next Man (or Woman) Up in Montana After Walsh Drops Out of Senate Race

Montana State Sen. Dave Wanzenried told NBC Montana he would be willing to start a Senate campaign if his fellow Democrats want him to run.

"I'm available. I'm eager to make sure that we make clear distinctions between what we stand for as Democrats and as Montanans against the candidate that's been nominated by the Republicans, and make the case that we are the better choice," Wanzenried told NBC Montana not long after Walsh made his decision public.

The NYT, where Walsh’s problems began, reported Aug. 7 that the next man up could be a woman.

Nancy Keenan, who used to run NARAL Pro-Choice America, is being considered, according to the paper, as is another Montana Democrat, former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger.

Bohlinger, who ran against Walsh in the Democratic primary, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that he was wiling to run against Daines if the party needed him.

No matter who runs, man or woman, they will be entering the game down by more than a few touchdowns.

A CBS News/NY Times survey of Montana voters that was released July 24 showed Daines in the lead by 16 points.

"Steve Daines is one of the strongest Senate candidates in the country, was in the process of defeating Sen. Walsh and will defeat whichever Band-aid candidate Democrats can persuade to get in the race," said Brad Dayspring, the National Republican Senatorial Committee's communications director, in a statement following Walsh’s announcement.

Real Clear Politics has consistently rated the Montana Senate race as “Likely GOP.”

(For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)