Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

Governor to Reid: ‘None of Your Damn Business’ Whom I Appoint to Senate

Walsh was sworn into the Senate on Feb. 11. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday he told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to mind his own “damn business” when the Nevada Democrat phoned him last year in an effort to influence his appointment to succeed Max Baucus in the Senate.

According to an account in the Helena Independent Record, Bullock told Montana reporters about his terse words with Reid. The phone call occurred before the administration’s announcement that Baucus would be nominated to be ambassador to China.

The Nevada Democrat had a big stake in the electability of Bullock’s pick. Reid’s party can lose no more than five Senate races to maintain his majority leader status, and the open-seat contest in Montana is one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities in November. Bullock, a Democrat, ultimately chose Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who was already running for Senate. Baucus announced his retirement from the Senate early last year.

“He wanted to weigh in on who I should choose and this was before it was even public,” Bullock said of Reid. “And I said it was none of your damn business.”

Bullock would not say whether Reid suggested a replacement for Baucus, telling reporters to reach out to the majority leader’s camp for confirmation. A Reid spokesperson declined comment.

But Bullock did further outline his message to Reid in that December call.

“I said, ‘You know what. Stay out of my decision-making. This is a decision I make and no one else. This is one of those decisions that voters have entrusted me with,’” Bullock continued.

Capitol Hill aides in both parties have privately speculated that Baucus’ appointment, and subsequent confirmation, to be President Barack Obama’s top emissary in China was politically strategic. They predicted the Montana governor would pick a Democratic seat warmer, who then would have a brief incumbent advantage in what likely will be a very close race.

Bullock denied knowledge of such a plan.

“If there was a backroom deal, I certainly was never invited to that back room,” he said.

The Montana Senate race is rated a Tossup/Tilts Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

  • Ryan

    Not bad – not only a denial of corruption, but also a shot at the least popular Democratic leader nationally, reinforcing his independent streak, and by proxy, that of his now-former Lieutenant Governor – independent streaks are valuable for red-state Democrats in elections.

  • Gregory Williams

    Suuuuuuuuuuure it was a politically motivated plot for a democratic governor to appoint a democrat to replace a democrat which confirms the voters choice to have a democrat in that seat – YEP it was a PLOT ….NOT.

  • soldier4110

    Wonder if the Democrat governor and the US Senate Majority Leader put together this fake story of how they disagreed and how they spoke to each other. Dems do not always tell the truth (maybe rarely tell the truth).

  • BertemusMaximus

    The Circus is in town and on the main stage the two best clowns.

  • HeraSentMe

    You never tell the truth. That’s what makes you such a good Republican.

  • Smurfet

    Do you ever fact check & mean really check on the “facts” that demorats put out. I’m not saying that elitist on the right are any better but why don’t you remove the “D” or “R” after the names & actually think about what they say. It benefits politicians for us to be divided & bickering. What we ought to be doing is looking at THEM more. I look at former Republican Christ of Fla. & that flip flopper who died (can’t think of name darnit) from Pennsylvania who was a dem then a repub then a dem again. That right there tells me that these career politicians are in it for the riches & power not to help our country. They are all clicky & palsy up at the top. I trust very few. my liberally leaning friends are now more in the conservative side (libertarian). I know very few people who like either party but maybe a couple at all (Rand, M. Lee, Cruz to name a few) They appear to be about the most honest of the bunch.

  • HeraSentMe

    I live in Texas. Ted Cruz is a narcissistic blowhard and part a fringe Christian sect whose members not only think the end is nigh, but are looking forward to it and anxious to help it along. He’s as dangerous as a cottonmouth, I just hope his titanic ego will eventually destroy his political career before he ever gets close to the metaphorical Button, because he’ll press it quicker than you can say Armageddon.

  • richardwagener

    Sounds like you are a bitter Democrat too. Ted Cruz is my number 1 choice for President. To hear you, gives me the realization that my choice is probably a good one. If a man and his character are to be known it takes not only the opinions of those who support him, but the tone and how vehemently those who are against him speak in opposition.

  • rightisright5116

    That’s right. Its time to pin the tail on the donkey. And the donkey is Harry Reid. As Obama’s (left) wing man, he’s gotten a free pass from the media.

    You want to know why the country hates Congress? Harry Reid gets first honors.

  • Maniccheapskate

    dimocrats talking= their lips are moving=Ipso facto ergo, they’re lying.

    Irrefutable fact:

    supported with accompanying faux factual hockystick, incomplete and erogenous models, pie in the sky faux data from the US Census, and personally vouched for applicability by the champion hacker of the people, Peirs Mogan. Na, nothin fake about it.

  • Maniccheapskate

    I don’t believe you live in Texas, Austin maybe, but not Texas.

  • Maniccheapskate

    Here lately “independent streaks are valuable” for squish rinos, also.

    Haven’t heard from my senator Cornyn in 6 years and now he’s all over the place fightin for us little folks and even gussyin up to our real Senator Ted Cruz.
    Cornyn being a lawyer, he has broken his oath 2 times to defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    I’m votin against the squish rino Cornyn in the primary.

  • Maniccheapskate

    Put your tin foil hat back on and drink your morning coolaide dear, your progressive tolerance; NOT, is showing.

  • dagwud

    Repeal the 17th. Senators should represent the governments from their respective states, and keep their noses out of the business of other states.

  • Servius

    As usual, your side can’t discus the issues and has to go straight for the ad hominem.

  • pabarge

    4 women, 1 man on this journo-team? Why the #WarOnMen?

  • bggatbdl

    Of course no mention of how Republicans have manipulated getting Republican senators in the Senate without ever actually winning an election because the Republican party is corrupt to its core. The Koch Brothers are out there buying off Republicans in order to enrich themselves off the backs of women, children, minorities, and gays, and you waste our time with some silly story about a Democrat being appointed to the Senate until the next election?

  • DesertDawg

    Would that be the pro-amnesty, gay marriage supporting, relaxed marijuana law Koch Brothers?

    Nice try, but the Koch’s don’t have a tenth of the money and control that Soros has over the Democrats.

  • BajaLaJolla

    All you really do, “Hera”, is remind us that for liberals in general and Democrats in particular, lying – up to and including felony perjury – is one of the principle sacraments of your Leftist religion. As was demonstrated so comphensively in 1998 by Bill Clinton and every single Democrat in the United States Senate. Every. Single. Democrat.

  • BajaLaJolla

    In the last fifteen years, the Koch brothers have spent $18 million on political causes. ONE Democrat hate group, Act Blue, has spent ONE HUNDRED million dollars in just the last ten years.
    Try peddling your Democrat lies somewhere like Democrat Underground, where your hate and lies are welcome.

  • HeraSentMe

    Every one of your arguments is pathetic, outdated or an outright lie. Every. Single. One.

  • Scotty G.

    How to be considered an idiot: name drop the Koch Brothers.

  • AnthonyLook

    This is a “who cares” story.

  • m141934a

    Anyone that would vote for Cruz for president is voting for another narcissist just like obama. Only a very low information voter would ever vote for Cruz.

  • Andre Leonard

    Outstanding Gov. Bullock..

  • Bill

    Seriously, comparing Act Blue and the Koch brothers – like apples and oranges. Act Blue, a Democratic site, allows individuals to go online and contribute to the candidate of their choice; the Koch brothers are two individuals who are single handedly trying to buy a Congress or states to their own benefits. He’s some irony for the Koch, Obama’s tax policies have allowed the Koch’s to double their wealth over the past four years and they are thanked him for trying to take him and every other progressive elected official out because god forbid they support the middle class, a minimum wage increase and the ACA (aka Romneycare) that started as a GOP idea.

  • Nick

    Bullock the bull at Reid he said “Stay out of my decision-making.” Huh? Not ready for prime time. Not ready any time.

  • Nick

    Low standing Bullock has his temper out of control. Who needs him?

  • Nick

    Is there a Democratic underground?

  • Nick

    You are dreaming.

  • Nick

    You’re losing.

  • Nick

    Austin Martin? Gotcha.

  • Nick

    “Probably a good one?” Huh?

  • Nick

    What do Republicans do?

  • Jim Delaney

    It would be obscene if Montanans end up with another Progressive nitwit to represent them in DC. I don’t get it. Montanans are, for the most part, patriots. What the hell are they drinking up there? Amazing.

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