Montana Special Elections for US Senator Vacancies Initiative (2014)

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The Montana Special Elections for US Senator Vacancies Initiative was not on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Montana as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure would have required a special election for any vacancy in the office of the US Senator.[1]

As of 2014, the Montana Governor names an individual to be the US Senator upon a vacancy in that office. That individual serves the remaining term of their predecessor.[2]


Attorney James Brown, who submitted the initiative for review, said, “The recent appointment of Walsh as a senator with no input from the public or a vote prompted me to do this.”[2] Gov. Steve Bullock (D) appointed Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) as US Senator to fill the seat being vacated by Max Baucus (D) on February 7, 2014.[3]


Former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger (D), ran against US Senator John Walsh (D) for the Democratic nomination for the November 4, 2014 US Senate election, called Walsh's appointment "an unprecedented political maneuver, our highest elected officials selected a candidate for the United States Senate, a decision made for Montanans in Washington, D.C." He continued, "Last Nov. 5, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called me and told me to drop out of the Senate race, because they had already chosen their candidate. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee didn’t want a primary. I refused, and life since then has been a long, cold winter in politics, in which I learned the dark side of power and money in politics. The insiders broke the non-endorsement tradition, and our party’s endorsed candidate is now the U.S. Senator – without any input from Montana voters. Is this what we want? I don’t think so. I believe every Montanan has a right to a voice and a vote in their own elections."[4]


Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Montana

Attorney Jim Brown, a legal counsel for the Montana Republican Party, sponsored the initiative and submitted documents to the Office of the Secretary of State on March 4, 2014.[1]

Supporters needed to collect valid signatures from ten percent of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial general election, including ten percent of the voters in each of the forty legislative house districts. In total, supporters needed to collect 48,349 valid signatures. Those signatures needed to be submitted by the petition drive deadline on June 20, 2014.

Jim Brown said that supporters were unable to obtain enough signatures by the deadline.[6]

See also

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