HELENA, Mont. — Montana U.S. Sen. John Walsh dropped his election campaign Thursday amid allegations that he plagiarized large portions of a 2007 research project, leaving fellow Democrats to scramble for a replacement with the election less than three months away.
Nationally, the development improves the odds for Republicans, who need a net gain of six seats in November to take control of the Senate. Even before Walsh's exit, strategists in both parties considered his Senate race against U.S. Rep. Steve Daines an opportunity to tip one more seat in Republicans' favor.
The Montana Democratic Party must hold a nominating convention before Aug. 20 to choose a replacement candidate.
Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer's name circulated as a potential contender even before Walsh's announcement, but Schweitzer says he won't run for the Senate.