HELENA, Mont. -

Gov. Steve Bullock's top adviser recommended he "shut down" any questions about who would be appointed to replace former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus.
Chief of Staff Kevin O'Brien wrote several emails to Bullock in December as news broke of Baucus' nomination as ambassador to China.
O'Brien wrote on Dec. 20 the vacancy issue "is a fire, the more oxygen we give it the more it will burn."
O'Brien wrote the governor could shut down questions about the appointment by saying there is no vacancy and he would not address it.
Baucus' anticipated Senate resignation prompted weeks of speculation on how Bullock would select a replacement.
Bullock rebuffed questions, saying no vacancy existed until Baucus resigned.
When Baucus did resign in February, Bullock announced his pick was then-Lt. Gov. John Walsh.