State Sen. Mike Baumgartner made his "official" announcement today that he's running against Maria Cantwell next year.
If that sounds familiar, it's because he was on television Friday evening, and in this newspaper Saturday morning, saying he'd run. That may have seemed pretty official to most folks.
Baumgartner previously said he'd make an announcement today, but did an interview with KING-TV on Friday for that station's weekend public affairs show. He said he was running with cameras running; KING and its Spokane sister station KREM had it at 5 p.m. Friday, and KXLY had a brief mention by 5:30 p.m. Generally speaking, The Spokesman-Review does a single story about a candidate's announcement and will wait for an "official" announcement that we know is coming as long as the candidate doesn't make some other kind of public pronouncement. When that happens, as it did in this case, we posted Friday and published Saturday that we would have posted today and published tomorrow.
So let's call today the official unveiling of his campaign website and the unveiling of the obligatory campaign video on YouTube. And there's nothing more official for a campaign than having a web site and a video, no?
Well, nothing except maybe drawing a first strike from the opposing party. State Democrats were quick to brand Baumgartner as a far-right extremist for signing the 2010 Spokane County Republican platform which calls for such things as withdrawing from the United Nations, eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, returning to the gold standard and repealing the Endangered Species Act.
Baumgartner did sign the platform, but said it has about 120 planks; he agrees with some but has spoken out against others, such as withdrawing from the UN.
Expect the platform to come up on a regular basis as Baumgartner tries to get some name identification on the West Side.