Montana’s Plagiarist Senator Will Quit His Race

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 7 2014 5:08 PM

Montana’s Plagiarist Senator Will Quit His Race

In one way, Jonathan Martin's story about the plagiarized Army War College thesis of Montana Sen. John Walsh broke at just the right time. The New York Times reporter revealed Walsh's plagiarism on July 23. That was after Walsh won a primary, dispatching two opponents who ran to his left, but before Aug. 11, when the state party could replace any candidate who left a race.

And that was what Walsh eventually did. Today he quit a race that he'd always been expected to lose—one that he'd started to gain a little ground in, before his past exploded in his face—after informing his campaign staff. "I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. senator," he said in a statement. "I am proud that with your support, we held our opponent (Daines) accountable for his hurtful record to privatize Medicare to deny women the freedom to make their own health decisions and to sell off our public lands." Yes, even in defeat, he stayed with the DSCC's preferred message.

Advertisement

Montana Democrats now have a chance to assemble, and for less than 200 delegates to pick a new candidate. Missouri Republicans tried to pull something like this off in 2012, when Rep. Todd Akin blurted "legitimate rape" with some time left for the party to pick a new candidate. The difference: In 2012, Republicans figured (not incorrectly) that any warm body with an "R" next to it on the ballot could beat Claire McCaskill. Montana Democrats are trying to hold an open seat in a state that has not voted Democratic for president since 1992. They have an unusually good record of winning Senate races in the state, but not under these red-alert conditions.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 22 2014 8:07 AM Why Haven’t the Philadelphia Eagles Ever Won a Super Bowl?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Science
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.