Former Montana Lt. Gov John Bohlinger is wasting little time making his thoughts known within the state's 2014 U.S. Senate race.
Bohlinger, who served as a Republican from 2005-2013, announced Tuesday evening that he was running as a Democrat to replace retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Hours after making his bid public, Bohlinger went after the tea party's role in October's 16-day government shutdown, comparing them to the Taliban.
“We need to challenge the tea party representatives who like the Taliban shut our country down,” Bohlinger told reporters Wednesday, according to the Helena Independent-Record. He also likened the resulting crisis to the effects of Pearl Harbor and 9/11, without the loss of life, the Great Falls Tribune added.
Bohlinger's comments came on the same day that a fresh 2014 GOP rival emerged. Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) announced Wednesday that he was running for Baucus' seat, drawing Bohlinger to cast him as one who voted to shut the government down.
"He and the tea party Taliban rejoiced in that," Bohlinger told the Great Falls Tribune, referring to Daines. "They thought it was clever. They thought it was cute. It’s not. It’s hurtful."
Back on Oct. 26, the Ravalli Republic noted that Daines initially voted with the House GOP majority on Oct. 1, leading to the start of the 16-day shutdown. But when it came down to crunch time, the Washington Post's tally shows Daines was one of 87 Republicans who voted on Oct. 16 to avert default.
As for where the overall Senate race stands, the Missoulian notes that Bohlinger is the third Democrat to enter the race, joining current Lt. Gov. John Walsh and rancher Dirk Adams. On the Republican side of the aisle, Daines joins state Rep. Champ Edmunds and political newcomer David Leaser.