And Bohlinger had some harsh words to say about the Tea Party:Former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger said Wednesday he decided to run for the U.S. Senate after the receiving considerable support and encouragement from Montanans the past four months.
Bohlinger, 77, a Democrat from Helena, also said he was motivated to enter in the race after the 16-day partial government shutdown this fall.
He spilled the beans on his announcement at a local Democratic Party dinner Tuesday night, when someone asked him about his plans. Bohlinger elaborated with reporters on Wednesday in front of a health club where he works out regularly.
Bohlinger, then a Republican who owned a women’s apparel shop in Billings, was elected to three terms in the Montana House and elected to two terms in the state Senate.
Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, tapped Bohlinger to be his running mate as lieutenant governor, and the bipartisan team won in 2004 and 2008.
If elected, Bohlinger said he would vote to change the Senate rules so it doesn’t take 60 votes of the 100 senators to pass anything. - 11/6/13
Ouch, those sound like some serious fighting words there. Now Bohlinger also talked about helping Montana veterans, rebuilding the middle-class, overhauling the federal tax system, bringing U.S. troops back from the Middle East and health care. Now as for the Democratic primary, here's what Bohlinger had to say:“We need to challenge the tea party representatives who like the Taliban shut our country down,” Bohlinger told reporters Wednesday, according to the Helena Independent-Record. He also likened the resulting crisis to the effects of Pearl Harbor and 9/11, without the loss of life, the Great Falls Tribune added.
Bohlinger's comments came on the same day that a fresh 2014 GOP rival emerged. Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) announced Wednesday that he was running for Baucus' seat, drawing Bohlinger to cast him as one who voted to shut the government down.
"He and the tea party Taliban rejoiced in that," Bohlinger told the Great Falls Tribune, referring to Daines. "They thought it was clever. They thought it was cute. It’s not. It’s hurtful."
Back on Oct. 26, the Ravalli Republic noted that Daines initially voted with the House GOP majority on Oct. 1, leading to the start of the 16-day shutdown. But when it came down to crunch time, the Washington Post's tally shows Daines was one of 87 Republicans who voted on Oct. 16 to avert default. - Huffington Post, 11/7/13
Bohlinger had been plotting his run for some time now:Bohlinger criticized the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for backing Lt. Gov. John Walsh, another Democrat for the Senate. On Wednesday, Sen. Jon Tester, also a Democrat, endorsed Walsh.
“I really feel it’s inappropriate for the Democratic Party to choose sides in a Democratic primary,” Bohlinger said.
He called Walsh “a wonderful man” and someone he enormously respects.
However, Bohlinger contrasted the two Democrats’ backgrounds, saying, “I’ve had a seat at the table when public policy is formulated.”
In response, Walsh’s campaign manager, Michelle Mayorga, said, “We look forward to an honest debate among all candidates about the ideas they have for Montana’s future. John Walsh brings to the table courage, selfless service and a commitment to putting his responsibilities as a public servant before party ideals.” - The Missoulan, 11/6/13
I'm honestly not totally sure who would be the stronger candidate. I'm leaning a little more towards Walsh because he doesn't have a record to defend, he's an Iraq war veteran and he has Senator Jon Tester's (D. MT) campaign people working for him. However, Bohlinger's promise to only do one term so he can make bold votes could appeal to a lot of voters and he has the Schweitzer connection that will be helpful. Now how Bohlinger's comments about the Tea Party and the government shutdown will play out remains to be seen. I just hope the primary doesn't get nasty because right now Daines looks like a favorite in his primary. Stay tuned.Bohlinger has said for several months he was considering entering the U.S. Senate race as a Democrat, and that he felt he would be the best candidate to defeat Daines, the likely Republican nominee.
“I believe it’s important not only for Montana but for our country that we maintain a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate,” he told the Gazette State Bureau earlier this fall. “Because of my statewide name recognition, I think I can win in November (2014). … We need to nominate someone who can win in November.”
People attending the Helena Democratic dinner Tuesday said Bohlinger said he felt he was the best candidate to represent Montana in the U.S. Senate contest.
Bohlinger said this fall that when he announces his candidacy, he will have “a team put together, we will be well-organized and the people of Montana will know my presence.” - Billings Gazette, 11/5/13