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Montana Democrats pick candidate as they try to retain Senate seat

| Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, 6:57 p.m.

HELENA, Mont. — Montana Democrats on Saturday selected a little-known state lawmaker as their candidate to take the place of Sen. John Walsh, who dropped out amid plagiarism allegations from his time at the Army War College.

Amanda Curtis, a first-term representative from Butte, has the challenge of introducing herself to Montana voters and making her case for them to choose her over well-funded Republican Rep. Steve Daines with less than three months until the election on Nov. 4.

“If we win here in Montana, outspent and outgunned in a race where we were left for dead, it will send a message to Washington, D.C., that we want change,” she said in a speech.

Republicans need a net gain of six seats in November to take Senate control, and Montana is a prime target to pick up a seat that's been in Democratic hands for more than a century.

The Senate race was considered a tough one for Democrats to win even with the incumbent Walsh in the running. Daines is expected to have a bigger advantage going against a newcomer who doesn't have his name recognition or $1.7 million campaign bank account.

Democratic Party delegates at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds insisted the race is winnable.

“We need to keep this seat, period,” said Judith Forseth, a delegate from southwestern Montana's Park County.

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