National Republicans are now calling it “The Big Sky Buy-Off,” as multiple outlets are citing a Democratic source saying Democratic US Senate candidate John Walsh (D-MT) will be selected to serve as the replacement senator for Max Baucus.
Here’s what the NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee) put out:
(Harry) Reid has been trying to influence and manipulate the Montana Democratic primary for some time, but this is taking things to another level. Wait until just before Christmas, then cut a back room deal to hand a retiring United States Senator an Ambassadorship so that the Governor can magically hand a Senate seat to old Harry’s preferred candidate. The blatant manipulation of it is something to behold, but it is bound to backfire.
It reminds folks exactly what’s wrong with Washington. It is slick, and voters (especially in Montana) don’t like Washington favoritism and certainly don’t like secretive deals that don’t pass the smell test.
Recent history sets a precedent that in situations like these, most Governors appoint placeholders as to avoid the appearance of impropriety or political manipulation. The near immediate confirmation by partisan sources that John Walsh will be chosen as the replacement for Senator Baucus only confirms that this was, in fact, a back room deal orchestrated from Washington.
The deal undercuts the lone argument that Democrats have made for John Walsh’s candidacy – that he’s from outside of Washington with no attachment to President Obama and the Democratic leadership/agenda. That argument is now moot, since Walsh is now Harry Reid and Barack Obama’s hand picked United States Senator.
John Walsh has to navigate not just a general election, but also a win a primary while living in Washington, D.C. This will only serve highlight what has already been an ugly and divisive primary fight.
It’s a long shot that the move would work, according to Nate Silver.
This “Big Sky Buy-off” is too cute by half and simply doesn’t pass the smell test.
Washington Post: Three Reasons Obama’s Sending Baucus to China
1. It (probably) increases the chances of Democrats holding onto his seat in 2014.
2. It removes a credible critic of the Affordable Care Act from the scene.
3. Baucus has extensive experience when it comes to China, especially on trade issues.
The Hill: Baucus Expected to Get China Nod
A former Senate Democratic aide said that Montana’s current lieutenant governor, John Walsh (D), is expected to be appointed to Baucus’s seat once the confirmation process is complete.
That would allow Walsh, who was already seeking Baucus’s seat, to run as an incumbent.
The White House is expected to try to move Baucus’s nomination forward quickly, according to another source familiar with the situation.
National Journal: How Baucus Retirement Helps Democrats Keep the Senate
“When you’re just a candidate, there’s only so much for the press to cover,” said the Montana Democratic strategist. “And there’s only so much they have to cover. Your ability to get free media as a senator in a place like Montana is really significant. It’s a really big deal for Walsh.”
And taking Baucus’s seat will also tarnish Walsh’s image as a political outsider. Running against Washington — as Walsh certainly would have done — isn’t easy for incumbent U.S. senators, even if Walsh will only have been on the job for a matter of months. “The deal undercuts the lone argument that Democrats have made for John Walsh’s candidacy — that he’s from outside of Washington with no attachment to President Obama and the Democratic leadership or agenda,” said Brad Dayspring, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “That argument is now moot, since Walsh is now Harry Reid and Barack Obama’s hand-picked United States Senator.”
Mel Frost – Whitehall
Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:30 PM
Harry, cooks the books and then wonders “why” he can’t get no love from the GOP, etc…
NOW – he sticks his slimy fingers into Montana…from over a state away… just so he can feel control again… What a slime.
IF this comes to pass – our Gov can just hummmmm for any further backing or votes from Montana residents! He’s toast!
As for this appointee…then running as “incumbent” go fish! He will have been in “Max’s seat” for some months…as such, he is a DEM that votes with/for Obama’s plans/programs/wishes, etc… NO WAY DOES HE STAY THERE…He, also, is toast…burnt toast.