This is terrible for a few reasons.
- First, there’s no desire on the part of any Democrats aside from a few diehard hopefuls to come and campaign for Walsh. What’s more, there’s no real effort on the part of the campaign to run for the seat they're going for, just to engage in damage control.
- Next, because we don’t want to campaign for Walsh we can’t really effectively campaign for that seat. Sure, you can attack Daines all you want, but gosh darn, that’s sure frustrating when you don’t like the guy trying to beat him.
- Finally, even trying to stump for Lewis or any of the other Democratic legislative candidates almost feels silly with this dark cloud called 'Walsh' hanging over our heads.
It’s a division in the party, plain and simple, and Republicans will…well, Republicans don’t need to do a damn thing because when it comes to divisions you just let that tear do its work and continue to rip and rend until your opponent is in two dueling camps and you slide on by as a result.
Talk about a mess!
What we need is someone to step forth and take one for the team, someone to run in that race instead of Walsh and lose. We know they’re going to lose, and this means we can throw out some new ideas and see how they stick statewide. It’s like a testing ground, and hell, that just might be the winning strategy.
We know Walsh has until August 11 to withdraw, as stated here:
13-10-325. Withdrawal from nomination. (1) (a) A candidate for nomination or candidate for election to an office may withdraw from the election by sending a statement of withdrawal to the officer with whom the candidate's declaration, petition, or acceptance of nomination was filed. The statement must contain all information necessary to identify the candidate and the office sought. Unless filed electronically with the secretary of state, the statement of withdrawal from nomination must be acknowledged by an officer empowered to acknowledge signatures or by the officer of the office at which the filing is made.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (1)(c), a candidate may not withdraw later than 85 days before a general election or 75 days before a primary election.
(c) A candidate may not withdraw later than 85 days before a general election conducted pursuant to 13-1-104(1)(a) or a primary election conducted pursuant to 13-1-107(1).
(2) Filing fees paid by the candidate may not be refunded.
That’s the best bet for everyone, for Walsh to stay in the Senate until January and that term ends. He saves face, the Democrats can have it a little of both ways, and the new person can then take over as the candidate.
So who would that replacement be? I think John Bohlinger is a fine candidate for that. Really, we need to have someone that can step forth and lose with dignity but still get Democrats fired-up enough to come out and vote.
If we don’t get them fired up our losses in the legislature will be even worse than the most cynical of us think, and there’s a good chance Zinke will be heading to Washington as well.
Perhaps Dave Wanzenried, who represented Missoula for so many years. Denise Juneau is a name that’s thrown around, and I think that’s a good bet and a good way to show that the Democratic Party and not the Republican is the one that cares about women.
I think James Connor over at the Flathead Memo really philosophizes on these issues best:
Suppose he withdraws from the general election ballot: then what? Early and absentee voting begin on 6 October, ten weeks from now. With whom would he be replaced? Denise Juneau? Dave Wanzenried? Dirk Adams? John Bohlinger? It doesn’t matter for the Senate, for it’s fantasy to believe any replacement would have a chance of winning.
But it is possible that replacing Walsh with a cleaner candidate would minimize the damage to down-ticket Democrats, John Lewis among them; so if the emergency polls report he can’t win in November, and I suspect they probably will, he may be asked to step aside for the good of the party. As a career soldier, he understands that kind of sacrifice and will make it if asked.
Fundamentally, John Walsh is a decent man, a professional soldier decorated for bravery in battle, a man defined by his commitment to public service. But home from war, he committed an inexplicable act of plagiarism, a tragic lapse that may end his political career. May history judge him fairly.
There’s a chance we could beat Daines, but with Walsh in that spot I just don’t see how. Worse, it could harm our chances in the legislature and with that House seat.
Is that worth it, saving some man’s ego so he can continue running this race? Let him stay in the Senate if at all possible! Let him do that, but let’s put someone forth that can get Democrats back up from moping on the ground and fired-up to vote this November.
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