Dems mull replacement options for Walsh
© Greg Nash

Washington and Montana Democrats are mulling options for replacing Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) on the ballot as it looks increasingly likely that he'll exit the race.


Walsh, who canceled scheduled campaign events Tuesday and Wednesday, has made no public appearances since the weekend amidst increasing chatter that he plans to drop out of his race against Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) in the wake of his plagiarism scandal.

"He took a personal day yesterday," campaign spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Democrats in Montana and Washington, meanwhile, are increasingly expecting that Walsh will decide to withdraw from the race ahead of Monday's deadline. They are desperately casting about for a replacement who could ramp up quickly to challenge Daines or at least give them someone who won't hurt other Democrats on the ticket.

Montana Democratic Party spokesman Bryan Watt told the Montana Standard that Democrats "are looking at our process" of replacing Walsh should he decide to withdraw, though they haven't vetted individual candidates.

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) has been mentioned by some Democrats, but it's unclear why he would choose to run now after taking a pass on the race earlier this year. Democrats think they might have a better shot at recruiting Montana native and former NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan (D), whom some have reached out to. Some Democrats have also mentioned little-known Montana state Sen. Dave Wanzenried (D) as a possible candidate.

Walsh has until next Monday to drop out, and Democrats have a bit more than a week after that to find a replacement.

Daines is the favorite against any Democrat at this point — he has a wide lead over Walsh in polls taken following the plagiarism scandal, and would start off against any other Democrat with a huge lead in cash and organization.

This post was updated at 9:40 a.m.