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Jeff Bridges says 'no thanks' to Montana Senate run

Democrats may not have any good options to replace Sen. John Walsh on the ballot in November, especially because Jeff Bridges won't be among them.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   Aug. 12, 2014 at 5:53 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Jeff Bridges waived off a suggestion he run in the Montana Senate race as a replacement for scandal-plagued Senator John Walsh.

Bridges, a resident of Paradise Valley, Mont., has become the target of a "draft The Dude" petition as the state searches for a nominee to put on November's ballot.

"I looked down and I see this thing 'Jeff Bridges for Senator' and I said, 'What?'" he said, responding to a question from radio host Howard Stern on what irritated his wife, Susan.

"There's a group of people that have called in and want me to run for senator of Montana, like 1,000 people, and I said, 'Sue?'" said Bridges. "And she looks at me and says, 'Don't even think about it.'"

Bridges was talking about a Change.org petition with more than 1,100 signatures, that called him "a great person" and "internationally reknowned (sic), but he is also highly accessible."

"He has great name recognition! Charisma! Brains!" the petition crows. "We need The Dude to be Montana's next U.S. Senator!"

Democrats have until August 20 to name a replacement for Walsh on the ballot. A nominating convention is set for this Saturday in Helena, where at least three candidates will compete for the nomination.

First term state Rep. Amanda Curtis, rancher Dirk Adams and state Sen. Dave Wanzenried have all thrown their hats into the proverbial ring. And former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, who came in second to Walsh in June's Democratic primary, said he would be at the convention but was unsure if he'd be nominated or would accept if he were.

Walsh, Montana's junior senator, was already headed for a likely defeat in November at the hands of Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines when revelations that he had plagiarized his final Master's degree paper forced him to drop his bid for a full term.

An investigation into Walsh's 2007 paper for the War College found that he copied -- nearly word-for-word -- significant portions of several documents without proper attribution.

Walsh, 53, was appointed to serve out the remainder of former Sen. Max Baucus's term when Baucus was appointed ambassador to China.

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