WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2014 -- Sen. John Walsh of Montana has pulled out of the general election, weeks after allegations surfaced that the Democrat had plagiarized a research paper while at the U.S. Army War College.

Walsh, a member of the Agriculture Committee, was appointed by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock to fill the remaining term of former senator Max Baucus, a Democrat who stepped down to become U.S. Ambassador to China. Walsh will serve out the rest of his term, which ends in January 2015.

“The 2007 research paper from my time at the U.S. Army War College has become a distraction from the debate you expect and deserve,” Walsh said in a statement to supporters posted on the campaign web site. “I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. Senator. You deserve someone who will always fight for Montana, and I will.”

Walsh, a former adjutant general in the Montana National Guard and an Iraq War veteran, was already trailing Rep. Steve Daines, the Republican nominee for the Senate seat, when the plagiarizing scandal broke. Now, the likelihood of a GOP victory in November is even greater.

Many analysts were already counting the Montana race as a win for Republicans, who need a net gain of six seats to take control of the Senate.


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