A Democratic candidate running for retiring Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-MT) seat said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) asked him to drop out of the race in order to avoid a primary.
Former Montana Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger told Helena TV station KXLH Monday that he received a phone call from Reid on Nov. 6, the day after his announcement, informing him that the majority leader’s choice for the 2014 Democratic ticket was current Lt. Gov. John Walsh.
“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.'”
He also told the news station that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had thrown its support behind Walsh, adding that he thought it was “inappropriate” the organization got involved in primaries.
Bohlinger, who previously served in office as a Republican, said after his announcement that he was motivated to run for Baucus’ Senate seat by the government shutdown. He took a swipe at his GOP opponent Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), saying he voted for the shutdown in line with the “tea party Taliban.”
Reid’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from TPM.