Democrat John Walsh Drops Out of Senate Race Over Plagiarism Scandal
The Billings Gazette reports Walsh, who was appointed as Montana’s junior senator following the retirement of Max Baucus earlier this year, said he is dropping out of the race because his plagiarism scandal has become a “distraction.”
“The 2007 research paper from my time at the US Army War College has become a distraction from the debate you expect and deserve,” Walsh said in a statement. “I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your US Senator. You deserve someone who will always fight for Montana, and I will.”
Before entering politics, Walsh, 53, served in, and briefly commanded, the Montana Army National Guard for 33 years, rising to the rank of brigadier general. Last month, the New York Times reported allegations that Walsh had plagiarized the majority of a 14-page strategy research paper that was part of his Master’s degree coursework.
Walsh admitted to the allegations but asserted that his plagiarism had been unintentional, and said post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have affected his actions. Walsh saw combat in Iraq, and was awarded the Bronze Star for his meritorious service.
Walsh was trailing his Republican opponent, Rep. Steve Daines, by a wide margin but was closing ground in late July polling before the plagiarism scandal broke.
Before being appointed to the Senate, Walsh served as Montana’s lieutenant governor from January 2013 to February 2014.