Democratic delegates voted for Curtis over rancher Dirk Adams during a special convention held Saturday, four days before the August 20 deadline for the party to choose a candidate to appear on the November ballot. Curtis received 64 percent of the 128 delegate votes cast.
Walsh came under heavy criticism after it was alleged that he plagiarized parts of a paper he wrote while pursuing a master’s degree at the U.S. Army War College. After the New York Times reported on similarities between his paper and another document authored by a scholar at Harvard, the college opened an investigation.
Walsh was appointed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock earlier this year to replace outgoing Sen. Max Baucus (D), who was tapped to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China.
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A joint statement by NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice Montana said that Curtis’ nomination answered an “urgent call” from those who “demand a representative who will fight for the comprehensive health care to which they are entitled.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Montana Executive Director Maggie Moran said that Curtis was a strong choice because of her support for reproductive rights. “Curtis has demonstrated a commitment to women’s health and personal privacy at the state level,” said Moran. “Women will make the difference in this election, and today’s decision demonstrates that the Montana Democratic Party recognizes and respects this fact.”
Curtis will face U.S. Rep. Steve Daines (R-Montana at Large) in the general election. Elected in 2012, Daines has established an anti-choice voting record in his single term in the House. Daines co-sponsored and voted in favor of bills that would ban public funding of abortion care and ban abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation.
Daines is also a co-sponsor of so-called personhood legislation that would give constitutional rights to fertilized eggs, embryos, fetuses, and clones. Before his departure from the campaign, Walsh had released an ad criticizing Daines for his support of the legislation.
Despite having no campaign structure in place and no campaign funds, Curtis says she has a positive view of the possibilities of her campaign. “The national media and the political class have already said that this race is over,” Curtis told the Missoulian. “But I’ve got a secret: None of those folks got to vote in the state of Montana. If we win here in Montana — outspent, outgunned in a race where we were left for dead — it will send a powerful message to Washington, D.C. that we want change.”