Political experts: Walsh's chances of winning slim


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Speculation is swirling around U.S. Senator John Walsh and the possibility he could be weighing stepping out of the race for Senate. It's the latest development for a struggling campaign, fighting allegations Walsh plagiarized portions of his 2007 Master's thesis. On Tuesday, the website POLITICO reported the Walsh campaign was engaged in an internal discussion on whether to continue on with the race. NBC Montana spoke to the reporters who wrote the story, and are following the Walsh campaign closely. "All eyes are on Montana," explained POLITICO reporter James Hohmann. "Everyone in Washington is waiting to see what Sen. Walsh is going to do." Hohmann is a national political reporter for POLITICO, and is closely following John Walsh's campaign. He explained one of the National Democratic Party's favorite candidates for Senate no longer has much of a shot. "I do think maybe they let the top-line accomplishments on the biography overtake some of the due diligence," he explained. Hohmann explained Walsh's decorated military career made him a candidate the Democrats wanted, and he thinks the Democratic Party may not have paid close enough attention to Walsh's background, vetting him as thoroughly as they should have. "They're supposed to go through exactly the kind of thing that Walsh plagiarized, stuff that's publicly available, very much in the public domain, which people were able to go and get," he said. Hohmann explained the way the campaign responded to the scandal compounded the problem, from initially downplaying the alleged plagiarism and putting part of the blame on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to backtracking and claiming the two were never related. "It was sort of a stream of amateur, rookie mistakes that raised Democratic concern that Walsh is not going to be able to survive this firestorm," he said. Ultimately, Hohmann said, Walsh has failed to live up to Democrats' expectations. "At this point, it's very hard to see Democrats being competetive in the Senate race, whether Walsh stays in or whether someone else steps up," he said. It's now up to Walsh to decide if he will withdraw from the race. Senior Congressional Correspondent for POLITICO and co-author of the article Manu Raju says the chances of an appointee winning are slim, and could impact other races. "I think there's a concern amongst some Democrats there that if things get worse, Walsh will hurt the party state-wide, so it may make sense to put someone else in there even if that other person doesn't stand a much better chance of getting elected in the Senate race," Raju told NBC Montana.