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Leaders laud Baucus, avoid queries on replacement

By The Associated Press
Published On: Dec 21 2013 02:33:26 PM MST
GOVERNOR STEVE BULLOCK
HELENA, Mont. -

Gov. Steve Bullock is joining other Montana political leaders in lauding Max Baucus' 35-year career in the U.S. Senate, but he is deflecting questions on a possible replacement.
    
President Barack Obama said Friday that he will nominate the 72-year-old Baucus as the next ambassador to China.
    
If Baucus leaves his Senate seat early to take his new post, Bullock will responsible for appointing a replacement to serve the rest of his term, to January 2015.
    
Bullock and his staff have been mum on who the Democratic governor is considering for the post.
    
On Friday, Bullock Chief of Staff Kevin O'Brien said today is about Baucus and the governor will ensure that Montana is well-represented.
    
Bullock's lieutenant governor, John Walsh, says Bullock has not approached him about a possible appointment.