Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) asked former Montana Lieutenant Gov. John Bohlinger (D) to drop his Senate bid to avoid a Democratic primary, according to Bohlinger.
Bohlinger says Reid called him after he announced his campaign.
"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 tells KRTV. "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.' "
Bohlinger's decision to run complicates Walsh's campaign and might make it harder for Democrats to hold retiring Sen. Max Baucus's (D-Mont.) seat. Montana Republicans have rallied around Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who appears to be the early favorite in the race.
Bohlinger, who served as a Republican in the statehouse and alongside former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), has already caused controversy by comparing House Republicans who shut down the government to the Taliban.