Walsh sworn in to replace Baucus

Vice President Biden swore in former Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D-Mont.) Tuesday as the newest U.S. senator.

Walsh replaces former Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who was confirmed last week as U.S. ambassador to China in a 96-0 Senate vote.

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“John Walsh possesses a true, independent Western spirit and a commendable dedication to the people of Montana,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. “I have no doubt that he will continue to serve his state and our nation with distinction as a United States senator.”

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) appointed Walsh to replace Baucus; Walsh had already announced his candidacy for the open seat after Baucus revealed plans to retire in 2014 after more than 30 years in the Senate.

Walsh’s appointment is seen as a big leg up going into the November election. Democrats are hoping this will help them keep the seat in what is expected to be a competitive race.

Walsh will likely face Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) in the general election.