Ex-Gov. Schweitzer Wades Into Montana Race With Kind Words For Bohlinger

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may want him to drop out of Montana’s 2014 U.S. Senate race, but Democratic candidate John Bohlinger drew plenty of encouragement from a popular former governor.

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) told National Journal in a story published Tuesday that Bohlinger would win the Democratic nomination over Lt. Gov. John Walsh if the primary were held today. Bohlinger served as lieutenant governor under Schweitzer from 2005 until 2013.

“Don’t listen to the bulls— you hear in Washington, D.C.,” Schweitzer said. “If the [primary] election were held today, John Bohlinger would win 2-to-1 over John Walsh. He’s not going to raise the money Walsh is because D.C. has selected Walsh as their candidate. … But the election isn’t right now, it’s next year, and the Democratic Senate machine in Washington, D.C. has their sights set on John Walsh, so he’ll have a lot more money than John Bohlinger.”

But Schweitzer also made it clear that he’s not picking sides, telling National Journal that he’ll “probably be a large donor to both of them.”

Bohlinger said Monday that Reid asked him to drop out of the race.

“And he said, you know, ‘John, you know, you’re a nice guy, but we’ve chosen Walsh. We’d like you to drop out. We don’t want to have a primary,'” Bohlinger told KXLH. “And I said, ‘Senator, we’re going to have a primary in Montana. And it will be the people of Montana that choose the next Democratic Senatorial candidate.'”

After he announced his intention to run earlier this month, Bohlinger likened the tea party to the Taliban and compared the recent government shutdown to Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

Bohlinger and Walsh are vying to replace retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). The winner of the Democratic primary will likely face Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT) in the general election.

 

This post has been updated.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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