Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) opened up Friday about a terse moment he had with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
According to the Helena (Mont.) Independent Record, Reid called Bullock in December to discuss who the governor would choose to replace retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). The conversation came prior to Dec. 18's news that Baucus was being nominated for a new post as U.S. ambassador to China.
“He wanted to weigh in on who I should choose and this was before it was even public,” Bullock said. “And I said it was none of your damn business.”
As the National Conference of State Legislatures notes, Montana is one of 36 states where the governor is responsible for appointments to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy. That selection serves until the next general election.
But as Roll Call pointed out, Reid arguably had a vested interest in Bullock's pick, with Republicans needing only a six-seat swing to regain control of the Senate. Reid's camp declined to comment to Roll Call.
Bullock's pick ended up being Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who was sworn in on Tuesday. The governor also denied Republican claims that he made a "backroom deal" with Reid and the White House on the replacement.
“If there was a backroom deal, I certainly was never invited to that back room,” Bullock said, according to the Independent Record.