Posted: Oct 4, 2013 8:05 AM by Jay Kohn - MTN News
Updated: Oct 4, 2013 9:54 AM
BILLINGS - MSU-Billings political science professor Craig Wilson says Lt. Governor John Walsh gives democrats a viable candidate in Montana's 2014 U.S. Senate race.
Wilson is quick to point to Walsh's distinguished military career, and his Butte roots as important factors as the Senate race takes shape.
"He's got some strong credentials, starting with the fact that he's a Butte boy," said Wilson.
Perhaps most important in the current politically charged atmosphere, Wilson expects Walsh to take aim at the status quo in Washington.
"I think in terms of the Senate race from the democratic side, he's going to run as an outsider against Washington D.C.," Wilson said.
Walsh wasted little time in taking aim at potential opponents in next year's Senate showdown.
"Too many lawmakers in D.C. put their own agendas ahead of their responsibility to constituents and all Americans," said Walsh in a YouTube video posted Thursday morning announcing his Senate bid.
Walsh's campaign website says he's running for the U.S. Senate "because Montana deserves leaders who will live up to their obligations and responsibilities, put service ahead of self, and have the courage to make the tough decisions while protecting the vulnerable."
Wilson says the current shutdown of the federal government has put a bad taste in everyone's mouth about the current state of affairs in Washington, and he expects Walsh to take full advantage.
"People are mad at everyone in Washington," explained WIlson.
"There is going to be a high level of anger, and at that point people do tend to take it out on incumbents, no matter what the blame game is, you were there," said Wilson.
Wilson says he fully expects Montana freshman Congressman Steve Daines to jump into the race for the republican Senate nomination.
He pointed out that the longer Daines waits to announce, he's basically freezing out any other republican hopefuls from jumping into the race, because they don't want to face Daines.
No sooner had Walsh declared his candidacy, GOP leaders came out swinging.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a press release Thursday blasting Walsh's record, and taking issue with his unique YouTube campaign announcement.
Referring to Walsh as the Democrats' "third string" candidate, the NRSC questioned why Walsh went into hiding after declaring his plans.
"Don't bother to try and ask Mr. Walsh any questions today about his record or where he stands on issues," said NRSC spokesman Brook Hougeson.
The NRSC release says Walsh's campaign consultant Hilltop Public Solutions would not explain why Walsh would not talk directly to the media.
The NRSC also criticized Walsh for liking a racy Facebook page that exploited women last month, and also linked him to a scandal within the Department of Military Affairs during the time when Walsh was tasked with overseeing operations.
So it appears the gloves are off in Montana's upcoming 2014 Senate race, so quickly on the heels of last year's Jon Tester-Denny Rehberg donnybrook.
For now Craig Wilson says he expects Walsh to work on getting his name out before the public, and raising money like all new candidates.