Spin Control

Baumgartner schedules 'Empty chair' debate

 

 

Some people think Clint Eastwood's 12-minute schtick with an empty chair at last week's Republican National Convention was great theater. Others think it was bizarro sad.

Your opinion may depend on your political leanings.

Republican Mike Baumgartner, the state senator from Spokane hoping to  unseat U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, is apparently a fan. So much so that his campaign is staging its own Eastwood moment on Friday, announcing that Baumgartner will debate an empty chair at  the Spokane Republicans Breakfast Club.

Baumgartner has been frustrated for months at Cantwell's refusal to commit to debates. At one point, he proposed one debate per county, which would be 39; he has since lowered the number to 10. Last week, her campaign said they would debate, but declined to say when, where or how many times.

So at 7 a.m. Friday at the Riverview Thai Restaurant, 1003 E. Trent, he will debate an empty chair, the campaign announced this morning.

"Participating in a debate during an election campaign is a civic duty of a public servant. It is admirable this empty chair is willing to serve the voters of Washington so graciously and without hesitation," Baumgartner said in a press release.

This strategy is not without risks, of course. Suppose, for example, the empty chair were to win the debate?




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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