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Spin Control

Posts tagged: 2010 6th Legislative District Senate

Marr concedes to Baumgartner

Democrat state Sen. Chris Marr made up some ground in Wednesday’s counting against Republican Michael Baumgartner, but Marr said it won’t be enough.

Marr conceded defeat a few moments ago in an interview with KHQ.

His campaign just released this statement:

“No matter the outcome of this election, our hopes and aspirations have not changed. Our belief in the people of Washington and this great city has not diminished. Our responsibility to offer ideas instead of attacks and compromise instead of gridlock has not gone away. Our dedication to serve our community has not waivered.  I ask all of my supporters to join me in congratulating State Senator-elect Michael Baumgartner and committing to work with him to advance the common interests of the citizens of Spokane and the Sixth Legislative District.”

Baumgartner’s lead appears insurmountable; City isn’t underrepresented in vote totals

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At the end of counting last night, many local Democrats said they suspected that votes from the city of Spokane were under-represented in Tuesday’s counts.

Since the city leans strongly in favor of Democrats, that would bode well for the party in later counts. But Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said Wednesday that as of the end of counting on Tuesday, city votes were counted around the same rate as those from outside city limits.

That was true even in the 6th Legislative District, she said. That’s where Republican Michael Baumgartner is beating Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr, 56 percent to 44 percent. It’s also where Republican John Ahern was beating Democratic state Rep. John Driscoll, 54 percent to 46 percent.

In the Republican-leaning 4th District, 59 percent of the ballots received as of yesterday have been counted. In the Democratic-leaning 3rd, about 57 percent of the ballots have been counted. In the 6th, 54 percent have been counted.

Unlike Marr and probably Driscoll, County Commissioner Bonnie Mager and County Treasurer Skip Chilberg are within striking distance. Republican Al French is leading Mager with 50.8 percent of the vote. Republican Rob Chase is leading Skip Chilberg with 50.5 percent of the vote.

History, however, could pose a challenge to them. Late votes in the mail-voting era in Spokane County have trended Republican.

This year, the county received a bigger surge then normal on the final day, and it’s hard to know what that means. Democrats say that bulge may be partially the result of their late get-out-the-vote efforts on behalf of Sen. Patty Murray’s reelection bid.

Or, it could just be more conservative voters seeking change.

Both sides misstate income tax positions of Baumgartner, Marr

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Claim: “With (Marr’s) tax increases, it’s hurting my employees and my business and the last thing I need right now is an income tax,” said Julie (who doesn’t give a last name and claims to be a Spokane business owner).

Source: TV ad from “Spokane Families for Change,” a group made up this year. It is funded completely by Working Families for Change, which is funded completely by The Leadership Council, a committee aimed at electing Republicans to the state Senate. Among the top contributors are the Washington Health Care Association, the Building Industry of Washington and the Washington Hospital political action committee. By diverting money like this, the true source of the money does not have to appear on ads.

Truthfulness: Perhaps true if Julie sells cigarettes. False as it applies to income tax.

Analysis: Incumbent Democrat state Sen. Chris Marr voted this year to increase the tax on cigarettes from $2.03 to $3.03 a pack. He voted against the other taxes that the Legislature used this year to balance the budget.

It should be noted, however, that even though Marr voted against the final budget, he voted for an earlier version of the budget that assumed new taxes would be approved, saying he wanted to move the process forward.

Marr and his Republican challenger Michael Baumgartner both have taken strong stands against the income tax in general and the proposed income tax on next week’s ballot. The ad cites the Democratic Party platform as the source for its allegation that Marr backs an income tax. But Marr never signed or took a pledge to the party platform.

Claim: Baumgartner “supports corporate income tax that would harm small businesses.”

Source: Mailer from Marr campaign

Truthfulness: Half-truth, maybe even quarter-truth.

Analysis: What Marr doesn’t say is that Baumgartner would only support the creation of a new business tax if the state’s unpopular business and occupation tax were eliminated. And, technically, Baumgartner is supportive of a single-business tax, which is similar to a corporate income tax, but different.

Baumgartner has endorsed the Washington Policy Center’s proposed single-business tax, which is based on a tax in Texas. It’s a hybrid between the business and occupation tax, which is a tax on revenue, and an income tax, which would be a tax on profits. The proposed tax would be a tax on revenue, but businesses could deduct their cost of labor or cost of materials or $60,000 under the proposal from the police center, said Carl Gipson, who co-authored a report for the policy center about the single-business tax.

Businesses have long called the B & O tax unfair because businesses have to pay it even if they’re not profitable. Gipson said the group looked for alternatives a corporate income tax, in part, because of constitutional and other challenges to the creation of a corporate
income tax. Marr has said he opposes the policy center’s proposal.

Marmots emerge as the surprise issue in the Baumgartner-Marr battle

Claim: “Chris Marr (D) has wasted too much time in Olympia. (He) voted to designate the Olympic Marmot the official endemic mammal of the State of Washington, voted to create Christmas tree inspectors, voted to require truth in music advertising (and) voted to designate the Lady Washington as the official ship of the State of Washington.”

Source: Mailer from “People for Jobs,” a group that gets all its money from Enterprise Washington’s Jobs political action committee, which gets its money mostly from business interests. Contributors include Comcast, Farmers’ Insurance and Puget Sound Energy. By diverting money like this, the true source of the money can be concealed on the mailers.

Truthfulness: The first sentence is for voters to decide. The second sentence is 100 percent true and could also be said about almost all Washington legislators from both parties.

Analysis: People for Jobs mailed at least three mailers targeting Marr so far this campaign season. All of them make some questionable connections to Marr, including one that talks about how someone stole $431,376 from a victims’ compensation fund - as if Marr had anything to do with it. He didn’t.

Imagine the ad that could have been produced if Marr had voted against naming the Olympic marmot the state endemic animal. Here’s a possibility: “Chris Marr hates school children. Marr viciously stomped on the dream of fourth- and fifth-graders at Wedgwood Elementary School when he voted against their proposal to honor the Olympic Marmot, which is found only on the Olympic Peninsula.” (Note to campaign operatives: It would be unfair to pullout the first sentence, use an ellipsis and post it on a mailer so it says: ” ‘Chris Marr hates school children ….’ — Spokesman-Review 10-29-2010.’ “)

The “marmot issue” really didn’t seem like a prominent campaign topic until this gem arrived in mailboxes. So let’s quickly review Senate Bill 5071 from 2009. Kelly Clark’s fourth-grade class had lobbied the Legislature for years on several proposals as part of her civics lessons. The marmot bill was the first to gain traction and pass. Final votes were 43 to 4 in the Senate and 84 to 13 in the House.

Two GOP funders criticize anti-Marr ad

Two associations that gave money to a Republican group that is funding an ad against incumbent Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr criticized the spot and say they will reevaluate their political donation strategies in light of the commercial.

The Washington Health Care Association gave $30,000 to The Leadership Council, which is the fund dedicated to the election of Republicans to the state Senate. The Washington Hospital Association gave $20,000 to the council.

Leadership Council money has funded Spokane Families for Change, a political action committee created this month that paid for a commercial highlighting a 2005 sexual harrassment lawsuit against Foothills Automall. At the time, Marr was a co-owner of the dealership and a named party in the lawsuit. On Saturday, Dawn Fowler, the woman who filed the suit demanded that the ad to be removed from the air, called Marr “a good boss,” and said specific allegations regarding Marr in her suit that was quoted in the ad were untrue. She said she contacted Marr after seeing the ad.

“While we cannot stop the misleading and dishonest anti-Marr campaign ads, we want to make it abundantly clear that WHCA did not contribute money to the Republican Leadership Council for the purpose of preventing the re-election of Senator Marr,” said Washington Health Care Association President and CEO Gary Weeks in a letter to The Spokesman-Review.

Randy Revelle, treasurer of the hospital association’s political action committee, called Marr a “true champion of health care and hospitals,” in a letter to The Spokesman-Review. 

The hospital association and health care association, which represents nursing homes, also gave money to the Roosevelt Fund, which is dedicated to electing Democrats to the state Senate. The health care association gave $800 to Marr’s re-election campaign.

Revelle said when his group gave to The Leadership Council, he did not know that the money could be transferred to political action committees that would target individual candidates.

Asked why the organization doesn’t simply give its campaign money to individual candidates, Revelle said the group has found it important to give to party leadership funds, but that policy will be examined.

“If you want to have access to the leadership, you need to participate in their funding programs,” Revelle said. “We just have to decide in the future if we should take that risk again.”

 

Baumgartner will halt campaigning temporarily this weekend

The ding dongs Michael Baumgartner will hear this weekend won’t be from ringing the doorbells of potential voters.

They will be wedding bells.

(OK, that was dumbest lede ever, sorry.)

Republican Michael Baumgartner will get a break this weekend from the state’s costliest legislative race to get married.

He and his fiancee, British citizen Eleanor Mayne, aren’t just going to the Courthouse. They’re getting hitched in front 200 or so people on Sunday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in downtown Spokane. Reception to follow at the Spokane Club.

The unusual timing, Baumgartner said, is related to Mayne’s citizenship. She was granted a fiance visa in August, giving them three months to make it official. 

Baumgartner acknowledged at a debate that will air tonight on KSPS that wedding planning has taken him from the campaign trail. But he says he doesn’t regret having to take time from the contentious race.

“I’m excited to be getting married to the love of my life,” Baumgartner said after the debate.

The race between incumbent Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr in the Sixth Legislative District has been highly contentious. Both sides accuse the other unfair, negative campaigning.

Baumgartner said he met Mayne when both worked for Civilian Police International, a company that had a contract to run a wheat seed distribution program in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Baumgartner was there from December 2008 until August 2009.

Marr, Baumgartner debate freeway spending; Does Seattle take more than its fair share?

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Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr and his Republican opponent, Michael Baumgartner, debate funding for the North Spokane Corridor in the latest in a series of Spokesman-Review candidates videos.

Both support the freeway’s extension south of Francis Avenue but have different thoughts about paying for it.

So is Spokane shortchanged in transportation funding, as some candidates believe? Does Seattle and the Puget Sound hog all the money? The answers are in a state report found here. It details how each county has done in attracting transportation money.

Considering all expected state transportation funding from 2004 through 2017, including the 2003 and 2005 gas taxes, the report estimates that Spokane County gets only 70 cents of investment for every tax dollar its residents contribute. Only three counties did worse — Benton, Yakima and Franklin.

King County gets 98 cents of investment for each dollar it contributes. Pierce County, home of Tacoma, gets 90 cents. Snohomish County, home of Everett, gets 89 cents. Clark County, home of Vancouver, gets only 81 cents.

What places get more than they invest?

Marr campaign warned to display party affiliation

The state Public Disclosure Commission plans to send a warning letter to the campaign of state Sen. Chris Marr for not mentioning his Democratic Party affiliation in a TV ad.

Phil Stutzman, the PDC’s director of compliance, said the commission decided not to open a formal investigation because Marr’s campaign agreed to change the advertisement.

The PDC received a complaint about the ad from Curtis Fackler, vice chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party, on Sept. 23.

Stutzman said he viewed the ad and agreed it violated campaign law that requires candidate ads to list party affiliation.

Marr said the lack of a party affiliation in the ad was “an oversight” and corrected as soon as the campaign learned of it. A copy of it on YouTube was still available as of 5 p.m. today, but was pulled by 5:45 p.m.

Baumgartner said Marr is hiding his party affiliation, despite his position as the Majority Whip in the state Senate.

“It just seems that Marr is for some reason embarrassed to be running as a Democrat,” Baumgartner said. “The law says you should put your party affiliation on there and you should.” 

Marr said he isn’t running from his party and said all his other advertising has listed the correct affiliation.

“If Baumgartner wants to make a big issue of it, I suppose they can,” Marr said. “I would say that there are more substantive things to talk about.”

Motorcyclists want candidates’ attention

A Spokane group of motorcyclists is fighting for attention among local politicians.

The Inland Empire Chapter of ABATE, a motorcyclist rights organization that opposes helmet laws and other restrictions on motorcycle riding, has been hosting a series of candidate forums that are restricted to one topic: motorcycle law.

Tonight, Democratic nominee for Congress Daryl Romeyn and state House candidates Democrat Andy Billig and Republican Morgan Oyler will participate. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at The Ticket, 1221 N. Howard St.

Steve Puccio, the legislative affairs director for the Inland Empire chapter, said the group works to keep politicians in contact with motorcyclists. He said ABATE stands for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments.

“They enact legislation and regulations taking away our rights, and they’ve never talked to us,” Puccio said.

In the 6th Legislative District, it has endorsed Republican Michael Baumgartner over Democratic incumbent state Sen. Chris Marr.

In an interview on Tuesday, Baumgartner declined to say if he supports the law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. He said he has “no plans” to sponsor legilsation that would repeal the helmet rules, but added he is ”sympathetic to the personal liberties” of motorcyclists.

The chapter has declined to endorse either incumbent Democrat state Rep. John Driscoll or Republican John Ahern in the 6th District state House race, Puccio said.

The group has endorsed Oyler and Billig’s opponent, Republican Dave White, in the state House races in the 3rd Legislative District.

Puccio said Oyler and White support the repeal of the state law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.

 

Baumgartner, Marr talk budget cuts

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Here’s the second in a series of videos with incumbent Democratic state Sen. Chris Marr and his Republican opponent, Michael Baumgartner.

They describe cuts that they think should be made to state government to help balance the budget.

The first video, where they answer: “Would you support raising taxes to help balance the budget?” is here.

Check back later this week to hear them giving their positions for paying to extend the North Spokane freeway south of Francis Avenue.

 

Marr campaign exaggerates Baumgartner’s absence from forum

The campaign of state Sen. Chris Marr this week falsely accused his Republican opponent of withdrawing from a weekend candidate’s forum “at the last minute.”

The candidate’s forum was held on Saturday at the North Spokane library, 44 E. Hawthorne Road, and was sponsored by the American Association of University Women.

Marr, the Democratic incumbent, is in a high-spending battle with Baumgartner to retain his seat representing one of the most competitive districts in the state.

Judy Blair, public policy co-chairwoman of the association, said Baumgartner never accepted an invitation because of a scheduling conflict.

“He wasn’t able to attend from the beginning,” Blair said. 

Here’s what Marr’s campaign said in a news release: “Recent Spokane resident and 6th District political candidate Michael Baumgartner today withdrew at the last minute from a non-partisan forum set up by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Washington, in what was supposed to be an informative session with Baumgartner and 26 year Spokane resident and longtime business leader Chris Marr.”

Baumgartner and Marr would not have appeared in the same forum, anyway. Blair said she split candidates who face each other on the November ballot into two events to keep the discussion civil. Eight candidates appeared in two different forums.

Marr said Tuesday that he heard secondhand that Baumgartner cancelled soon before the event.

O’Quinn calls for GOP unity, says job prevents her from endorsing Ahern

Shelly O’Quinn, a Republican who lost her bid in the highly contested battle for state House representing the 6th Legislative District, said Wednesday that she is not allowed to endorse any candidates in the general election because of her job.
Incumbent Democratic state Rep. John Driscoll and former state Rep. John Ahern, a Republican, won the primary and will face off in November.
O’Quinn is the workforce development manager for Greater Spokane Inc., the region’s Chamber of Commerce. She said after the election she restarted her full-time work schedule.
“Due to the nonpartisan nature of our organization, I’m prohibited from making any political endorsements,” O’Quinn said. “I definitely hope that the Republican Party can unify. It’s important for the Republican Party and it’s important for the community.”
O’Quinn said because of her job, she did not endorse any candidates during the primary – though she was listed, as of Wednesday morning, on the endorsement list of state Senate candidate Republican Michael Baumgartner.
Baumgartner said Wednesday O’Quinn was listed as an endorser because she was one of more than 20 Republicans who were filmed saying, “We like Mike” or “I like Mike” for this youtube campaign ad.
Baumgartner said he understands O’Quinn’s job obligations and that her name will be pulled from his list of endorsements.

Marr wins city, Baumgartner wins county

This map of the Senate race between incumbent Democrat Chris Marr and Republican Michael Baumgartner indicates that voting went as usual in the 6th Legislative District. The Democrat won precincts closest to central Spokane; the Republican won Indian Trails, the far South Hill and areas outside city limits.

(Map by Jim Camden)

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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