Republicans Fend Off Socialist Teacher to Pick Up Montana Senate Seat

Amanda Curtis
Amanda Curtis / AP

For Montana Democrats looking to hold a U.S. Senate seat, a socialist didn’t fare much better than a plagiarist.

Rep. Steve Daines defeated Democratic State Rep. Amanda Curtis, according to projections, bringing Republicans within one seat of a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Curtis won the Democratic nomination in the state after the New York Times reported that Sen. John Walsh (D., Mont.) had plagiarized his final paper at the U.S. Army War College.

The college has since rescinded Walsh’s degree and removed his name from his graduating class’ commemorative plaque on campus.

Walsh was defiant until the end, saying, "I disagree with the findings made by the War College, I accept its decision with great humility and respect for the U.S. Military."

Curtis, who represents Butte in Montana’s House of Representatives, immediately came under fire for her ties to a radical labor group called the Industrial Workers of the World.

The group’s members, commonly known as Wobblies, seek to "end the capitalist system," according to IWW’s website.

Curtis’ husband is IWW’s Butte delegate, and she has written for the organization’s monthly newspaper.

Facebook posts and YouTube videos also proved a thorn in her side and offered additional fodder for Republicans seeking to portray the former high school teacher as a far-left radical.

One post to her Facebook page honored Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, a labor leader and chair of the Communist Party of the United States who received a state funeral in Red Square after she died during a visit to the Soviet Union.

Asked about those statements and her ties to labor radicals, Curtis punted twice, refusing to answer a reporter’s repeated questions about "critics [who] say that sounds like contemporary communism."

The Republican Party of Montana also pointed to a series of YouTube videos posted by Curtis during her time in the statehouse in which she mocked Christianity and concern over the national debt.

"The great thing about those videos is folks can go and see exactly what context I said any statement that they're curious about," said of the videos.