Democrats pulled a major rabbit out of their recruitment hat with Lt. Gov. John Walsh's announcement on Thursday that he'd run for Montana's open Senate seat next year. Just about every top tier Dem had opted against a bid, leaving the party with few options, but the DSCC kept courting Walsh amidst these setbacks, and now they've got their man.
Walsh brings some big positives to the race. He was adjutant general of the Montana National Guard and commanded a combat battalion in Iraq (which he discusses in his welcome video, posted above), earning a bronze star. It's a great bio, and it also means he doesn't have a long voting record (like, say, retiring Sen. Max Baucus) his opponents can use against him. On the other hand, Walsh has never run for office on his own before—he was narrowly elected lieutenant governor on a ticket with now-Gov. Steve Bullock last year—so he'll get tested this time in a way he hasn't been before.
Republicans still lack a candidate, though most observers seem to expect that freshman Rep. Steve Daines will get in, and Democrats have ramped up their attacks on him while also recruiting a credible candidate for his House seat. However, most folks also thought that ex-Gov. Brian Schweitzer would definitely run for the Democrats, so we'll see. Whether or not Daines enters, this will be a challenging hold for Team Blue just thanks to Montana's Republican-leaning demographics, but Walsh gives Democrats a real chance of keeping this seat.