HELENA, Mont. -

Those wanting a front row seat to history this week can head to the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena Saturday and watch as the Montana Democratic Party selects a U.S. Senate candidate to replace Sen. John Walsh. Here is a look at the week's most interesting and important developments in Montana's election campaigns.
    
DEMOCRATS' NOMINATING CONVENTION OPEN TO PUBLIC:
    
Members of the public are invited to attend the Montana Democratic Party's special nominating convention Saturday at the Lewis and Clark Fairgrounds in Helena. A new candidate for U.S. Senate will be chosen to replace Sen. John Walsh, who dropped out of the race amid plagiarism allegations. The convention will start at 9 a.m. and will include leaders from county party committees, federal and statewide elected officials and the party's executive board. As of Thursday afternoon, 120 of about 160 members of the state central committee had registered to attend. A new candidate must be selected before Aug. 20, and he or she will run against Republican Rep. Steve Daines and Libertarian Roger Roots.
    
U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE REPLACEMENT LIST SHRINKS:
    
At one point this week, it seemed a half-dozen people were interested in replacing Walsh in the campaign. By Thursday, however, at least two recanted, citing political and personal reasons. Franke Wilmer said she wanted to stay in the race for which she's already been campaigning, state Senate District 32. Longtime state lawmaker Dave Wanzenried also stepped aside, telling the Lee Newspapers State Bureau his wife is facing potential health problems and that he doesn't believe he can win the nomination. That leaves Wilsall rancher Dirk Adams, who competed against Walsh in the primary elections, and state Rep. Amanda Curtis of Butte, as the two most publicly interested in the nod. Former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, who switched parties to run for the Senate in the primary elections, has said he'd consider replacing Walsh under certain conditions.
    
WALSH PLAGIARISM INVESTIGATION BEGINS:
    
The U.S. Army War College begins its investigation Friday into allegations that Walsh used others' work without attribution in a 2007 research paper to earn a master's degree from the school. Walsh said earlier this week he's undecided on whether he'll appear in person but plans to submit information to the faculty board that will consider his case. He declined to offer further details and said the controversy isn't taking a toll on his duties as a lawmaker. A spokesman for the college said previously he didn't think the investigation would take long.
    
COMMISSIONER BOOTS 5 CANDIDATES FROM BALLOT:
    
The commissioner of political practices is removing five legislative and local candidates from the ballot for failing to file campaign finance reports. The legislative candidates are Libertarians Joshua Austill and Nicholas Taffs, and Republican Richard Tenneson. The local candidates are nonpartisan Robert McCandless for Mineral County commission and Democrat William Wilson for Cascade County commission. Commissioner Jonathan Motl said in his Thursday decision that another 34 candidates who filed their reports late are subject to sanctions, but will remain on the ballot.