John Walsh (U.S. politician)

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John Walsh
John Walsh, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Montana
Assumed office
February 9, 2014[1]
Serving with Jon Tester
Appointed by Steve Bullock
Preceded by Max Baucus
30th Lieutenant Governor of Montana
In office
January 7, 2013 – February 9, 2014
Governor Steve Bullock
Preceded by John Bohlinger
Succeeded by Angela McLean
Adjutant General of Montana
In office
September 1, 2008 – March 2012
Governor Brian Schweitzer
Preceded by Randall Mosley[2]
Succeeded by Joel Cusker (Acting)[3]
Personal details
Born (1960-11-03) November 3, 1960 (age 53)
Butte, Montana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Janet Walsh
Children 2
Alma mater Carroll College
Excelsior College
United States Army Command
and General Staff College

United States Army War College
Religion Christian[4]
Website Congressional website
Campaign website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1979–2012
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General (Montana)
Unit US Army National Guard Insignia.svg Montana National Guard
Battles/wars Iraq War
Awards Bronze Star medal.jpg Bronze Star Medal
Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge

John E. Walsh (born November 3, 1960) is the junior United States Senator from Montana, serving since February 9, 2014.[5][6] A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a United States Army Brigadier General, the Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard from 2008 to 2012, and Lieutenant Governor of Montana from 2013 to 2014.

In October 2013, Walsh announced that he was running for the U.S. Senate in 2014 to succeed retiring Democratic incumbent Max Baucus.[7] In February 2014, Governor Steve Bullock appointed Walsh to the seat to replace Baucus, who resigned to become United States Ambassador to China.[8]

Early life and education[edit]

Walsh was born on November 3, 1960 in Butte, Montana, and graduated from Butte High School in 1979. He attended Carroll College, received a Bachelor's degree from Regents College, the University of the State of New York (now Excelsior College) in 1990 and a Master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in 1997.[9][10]

He enlisted in the Montana Army National Guard after graduating from high school in 1979, and later received his commission as an officer in the Army National Guard in 1987.[11]

Walsh is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, and the United States Army Command and General Staff College.[12]

Montana National Guard[edit]

Walsh as Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard.

He served in the Montana National Guard for thirty years. In this capacity he led 1st Battalion, 163rd Infantry Regiment in combat in Iraq. He earned the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He also led operations of over 2,000 Guard members during Montana's 2000 wildfires.[13]

In 2008 Walsh was appointed Adjutant General and received a state promotion to Brigadier General. After resigning in 2012 to run for Lieutenant Governor he continued to serve as a traditional National Guard member (one weekend drill per month, two weeks of annual training each year), and was appointed by his successor, to serve as the Montana Army National Guard's Land Component Commander. Walsh retired from the National Guard in December 2012.[14]

In December 2013 the Montana Television Network reported that a 2010 Army Inspector General report concluded that Walsh had used the Adjutant General's post for "private gain." According to the report, Walsh used his position to "pressure" subordinates into joining the National Guard Association of the United States in an effort bolster Montana's membership numbers as a way to enhance Walsh's credentials during his candidacy for Vice President of NGAUS.[15][16]

In response, Walsh stated that he disagreed with the IG, pointing out that he was not disciplined. Walsh went on to say that the IG report stemmed from a disagreement in interpreting the rules which govern when and how Department of Defense employees can take part in activities such as running for a NGAUS leadership position.[17]

Walsh further pointed out that the NGAUS position is an uncompensated one which required him to travel to meetings at his own expense. In Walsh's defense, former Governor Brian Schweitzer said that when he received the report in 2010, he considered it "much ado about nothing."[18]

In January 2014, Walsh confirmed that the 2010 Army Inspector General's report on his National Guard Association of the United States activities prevented him from receiving federal recognition as a general officer during his tenure as Adjutant General.[19] (Adjutants General are normally federally recognized as Major Generals in the Reserve Component of the U.S. Army for Army National Guard officers, or the Air Reserve Component of the U.S. Air Force for Air National Guard officers, provided they meet all the eligibility criteria.) News accounts on the IG report also indicated that Walsh received a formal letter from General Peter W. Chiarelli, then the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, in which Chiarelli reminded Walsh of his obligation to remain impartial in his dealings with non-federal entities, such as NGAUS. Contemporary news accounts also indicated that then-Governor Schweitzer wrote to Chiarelli to state his confidence in Walsh's integrity and abilities, and to urge his promotion to the federally recognized general officer ranks.[20]

Lieutenant Governor of Montana[edit]

In March 2012, Attorney General and presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Steve Bullock selected Walsh to be his running mate.[21] The pair won the Democratic primary with 87% of the vote. In the general election, Bullock and Walsh defeated their Republican opponents, former Congressman Rick Hill and his running mate, State Senator Jon Sonju, by 49% to 47%.[22] They assumed office in January 2013 upon the expiration of the term of Governor Brian Schweitzer and Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger.[23]

U.S. Senate[edit]


In December 2013, President Barack Obama nominated retiring United States Senator Max Baucus to be the next United States Ambassador to China.[24] On February 6, 2014, Baucus was confirmed and resigned his Senate seat. On February 9, Governor Steve Bullock then appointed Walsh to serve the remainder of Baucus's Senate term, and Walsh resigned as Lieutenant Governor.[25] He was sworn in on February 11, taking the oath from Vice President Joe Biden.[26][27]

2014 election[edit]

On October 3, 2013, Walsh announced his intention to run for the seat of retiring Senator Max Baucus. On February 9, 2014, Walsh was appointed to replace Baucus in the Senate after Baucus stepped down early, making Walsh the incumbent in the race.[28] Rancher Dirk Adams and former Montana Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger are also running for the Democratic nomination, although they may drop out of the race following Walsh's appointment.[29][30] Walsh has been endorsed by Governor Bullock, Senator Jon Tester, and former Senator Max Baucus. Republican Congressman Steve Daines is considered Walsh's likely opponent in the general election.[30]

Committee assignments[edit]


Walsh met his wife of over 28 years, Janet, in college. The couple has two grown sons. Michael is a member of the National Guard and Taylor is pursuing an acting career.[32][33]


  1. ^ Montana's United States Senators,
  2. ^ Martin J. Kidston, Helena Independent Record, New Adjutant General set to Take Command of Guard, September 5, 2008
  3. ^ Kristin Price, Beartooth NBC, New Adjutant General, March 8, 2012
  4. ^ "Roll Call New Member Profiles: 113th Congress John Walsh, D-M.T. (Senate)". February 24, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Montana Governor appoints Lt. Governor to Senate", Washington Post, February 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Donna Cassata, Associated Press, Huffington Post, John Walsh Sworn In As Montana Senator, Replacing Max Baucus, February 11, 204
  7. ^ Washington Post, Montana Democrats Get Higher Profile US Senate Candidate They Have Been Searching For, October 3, 2013
  8. ^ Washington Post, Montana governor appoints Lt. Gov. John Walsh to Senate, February 7, 2014
  9. ^ Montana Democratic Party, Biography, John Walsh, 2012
  10. ^ The Missoulian, Biography, John Walsh, March 8, 2012
  11. ^ Charles S. Johnson, Billings Gazette, Bullock to Name Gen. Walsh as Running Mate, March 7, 2012
  12. ^ Montana National Guard, Biography, John E. Walsh, 2008
  13. ^ Montana Kiwanis, Speaker's biography, John Walsh, page 1, 2013
  14. ^ Montana.Gov, Biography, Lieutenant Governor John Walsh, retrieved October 23, 2013
  15. ^ Sanjay Talwani, KRTV-TV, Army Report Cites Walsh for Improper Private Gain During MT National Guard Service, December 28, 2013
  16. ^ U.S. Army Inspector General, Report of Investigation, Colonel John E. Walsh, August 30, 2010
  17. ^ Charles S. Johnson, Billings Gazette, Walsh disputes Army report he used National Guard General’s Post for Private Gain, December 28, 2013
  18. ^ Army Times, Army IG: Mont. Politician Misused Adjutant General Position, December 31, 2013
  19. ^ Mike Dennison, Montana Standard, Adverse Report Prevented Walsh From Promotion to Army General, January 18, 2014
  20. ^ Montana Standard, Schweitzer Wrote Army Defending Walsh After IG Report, January 18, 2014
  21. ^ Johnson, Charles S. (March 9, 2012). "Bullock makes pick of Walsh as running mate official". Independent Record. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  22. ^ Charles S. Johnson, Billings Gazette, Bullock Defeats Hill in Montana Governor Race, November 7, 2012
  23. ^ Charles S. Johnson, The Missoulian, Bullock Sworn in as Montana's 24th Governor, January 7, 2013
  24. ^ Daniel Strauss, Talking Points Memo, Obama Announces Nomination Of Max Baucus As China Ambassador, December 20, 2013
  25. ^ Matt Volz, Associated Press, ABC News, Lt. Gov. John Walsh Chosen for Baucus' Senate Seat, February 7, 2014
  26. ^ Jose Delreal,, John Walsh Appointed to Montana Senate Seat, February 7, 2014
  27. ^ Susan Davis, USA Today, John Walsh Sworn in as Montana’s Junior Senator, February 11, 2014
  28. ^ Johnson, Charles (7 February 2014). "Bullock taps Walsh for Senate seat". Billings Gazette. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  29. ^ KXLH, Bohlinger announces candidacy for U.S. Senate, November 7, 2013
  30. ^ a b Delreal, Jose (7 February 2014). "John Walsh appointed to Montana Senate seat". Politico. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  31. ^ "Walsh nominated to serve on 4 U.S. Senate committees". 24 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  32. ^ Dan Bushnell, Big Sky Guardian, A New Era Begins for the Montana National Guard, Fall 2008, page 11
  33. ^ Charles S. Johnson, The Missoulian, Democrat Bullock Taps Former Montana Adjutant General for Lieutenant Governor, March 8, 2012

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John Bohlinger
Lieutenant Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
Angela McLean
United States Senate
Preceded by
Max Baucus
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Montana
Served alongside: Jon Tester
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Cory Booker
as U.S. Senator from New Jersey
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Current Governors
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