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.

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Reid and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had already rallied around Montana Lieutenant Gov. John Walsh (D) before Bohlinger decided to run.

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 DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSanders: Public should be ‘very concerned’ about election security in 2018 Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE Republican bill aims to deter NATO members from using Russian pipeline MORE (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.