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Posts tagged: Mike Baumgartner

Mapping the vote: Another way to look at the U.S. Senate race in Spokane

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell easily finished first in last week's state primary, and topped Republican challenger Mike Baumgartner in many Spokane County precincts, as the map below shows.

But when one considers the ABC vote — Anyone But Cantwell — she won fewer precincts, as the map above shows.

For a closer look at the map, click on the PDF version below.


Mapping the vote: One way to look at the U.S. Senate race in Spokane

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell easily topped the field in last week's state primary, and finished on top in Spokane County, which is the home of her general election challenger, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner.

Using Monday's ballot report, here's a look at how Cantwell did against Baumgartner in Spokane County.

For a closer look, check out the PDF version of the map.


Obviously, Inslee and Baumgartner hadn’t compared notes

There was a wide range of reaction among Washington politicians to Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. Here’s an example of how wide:

Jay Inslee, who voted for the law as a congressman and now wants to be Washington’s next governor, and insisted he wasn’t surprised by the ruling: “I always believed this was constitutional.”

That would seem to make him significantly more confident than the president, and four justices on the court.

Michael Baumgartner, a state senator who voted against bills to set up and expand a health benefit exchange this year and last – and wants to be Washington’s next U.S. senator – was surprised: “Today, the Supreme Court did something none of us expected – they held that the Affordable Care Act is not in violation of the Constitution.”

Baumgartner apparently never talked with Inslee.

Day 1 Filing Week. Some races fill up quickly

OLYMPIA — Some races are starting to fill up quickly on the first morning of filing week as many of the expected candidates and a few surprises turn in their forms and fees.

The top of the ballot for the Aug. 7 primary, the U.S. Senate race, had three names before lunchtime: Incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner of Spokane's 6th Legislative District were “givens.” But filing first was a previously unheralded candidate, Chuck Jackson of Snohomish. He listed Republican as his party preference, and as his e-mail provider.

The statewide race attracting the most attention so far is secretary of state. Incumbent Sam Reed is retiring, and five candidates already want to take his place. First in the blocks, and perhaps the first person to file this morning at 8:00 a.m., was Sam Wright of Olympia, who lists his preference as the Human Rights Party. Perhaps more recognizable to a larger chunk of the state's electorate is former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, listing Democrat as his party preference. Democratic State Sen. Jim Kastama also wants that job, as does Democrat Kathleen Drew, a former state senator, and Karen Murray of Quincy, who lists the Constitution Party as her preference.

On a local note, Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase filed for the County Commissioner seat being vacated by fellow Republican Mark Richard.

For more candidate filings, go inside the blog. We'll update the list several times a day.

Filing week is nearly here. Candidates take note

Everyone thinking about running for political office this year, take note: You have less than a week to make up your mind. Everyone talking about running and acting like they’re already a full-fledged candidate, take note: It’s not official until you file your paperwork and pay your fee.

Candidate filing week starts Monday morning, and ends when the office where that paperwork and fee must be deposited closes on Friday. Here’s a tricky part – because of budget cutbacks, some county elections offices close as early as noon on Fridays, others at 4 p.m., and some stay open until 5 p.m. Anyone planning to wait until the very last minute to build suspense would be wise to make a phone call to the appropriate office and check when that last minute is.

For some positions that’s the county elections office in the county seat; for others, it’s the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia. How do you know what goes where?

Go inside the blog to read more, or to comment.

Capital budget signed; Baumgartner questions project list

TACOMA – More than $1 billion in construction projects, from storm water runoff systems costing a thousand of dollars to the second half of a medical research facility in Spokane costing some $37 million, were signed into law Monday.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the capital projects budget at Tacoma Community College, where the state will spend $39 million for a new Health Career Center. She called it a package of jobs that present “a way out of the recession.”

While Gregoire and other legislators were lauding the list of projects, state Sen. Mike Baumgartner was requesting a study of whether election-year politics helped determine where money went. Districts represented by Democratic senators and Democratic senators facing re-election this year received far more than the state average per district and more than their GOP counterparts, his analysis showed. 

“I voted for the capital budget and it contains many worthwhile projects, but we need to make sure it’s not used for pork barrel projects in election years,” said Baumgartner, a first-term state senator from Spokane’s 6th District.

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go  inside the blog.


3rd Lege District “town hall” call on Wednesday

Residents of Spokane's 3rd Legislative District might be getting a call around 6 p.m. Wednesday inviting them to participate in a tele-town hall.

A what? you might say.

It's like a town hall meeting, only on the telephone.

Sen. Lisa Brown and Reps. Timm Ormsby and Andy Billig will all be on the other end. Or more accurately, another ends. In a tele-town hall, there are lots of ends because hundreds of people can be on the line.

Participants can ask their questions, and listen to the questions of others and the answers from the three Democratic legislators. If you want to participate but don't get a call, you can dial toll-free at 1-877-229-8493. You'll have to enter an ID code when requested, of 18646.

A spokeswoman said the three legislators decided to do a town hall meeting by phone because scheduling a session in Spokane early the session can be difficult. They may do one in person later.

For 6th District residents, however, can ask their state senator questions the old fashioned, face-to-face way on Saturday. Sen. Mike Baumgartner is holding two standard town hall meetings.

The first will be at 8 a.m. at the Multipurpose Room, PUB 101, on EWU Cheney campus. (It's hosted by the Associated Students of Eastern Washington University, who apparently don't plan to party late into the night Friday to be up bright and early for the town hall meeting…or maybe they just won't go to bed until after the meeting is over.)

Another meeitng is at 10:30 a.m. at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Browne's Addition, 2316 West 1st Ave.

Long freeze coming for some candidates

OLYMPIA — The upcoming special session of the Legislature may complicate campaign cash-grabbing for some candidates, but give others a leg up.

State law bans state elected officials from accepting campaign contributions during a special session and from 30 days before a regular session until that session ends.

The freeze, as it's called, starts on Nov. 27, the day before the special session starts, and continues until that session ends. If the special session lasts past Dec. 10 (something for which you could get really good odds, if Vegas bookmakers were foolish enought to bet on Legislatures) the 30-day ban in front of the regular session kicks in, so the freeze continues into January, February … and however long it takes for the Legislature to finish the rest of its business.

Will they need a special session to get everything done? Who knows. But they've need them for the last two years.

So incumbents up for election in 2012 might not be accepting checks from Thanksgiving weekend until sometime in mid March, at the earliest. Their challengers who aren't in office can.

Also affected are state elected officials who will be running for some other state office. So State Attorney General Rob McKenna's campaign for governor is frozen out, starting Nov. 27. But his chief Democratic challenger, Rep. Jay Inslee, isn't because the law doesn't — in fact, can't — cover federal officials.

That principle that a state can't put limits on federal candidates works in reverse, too. State Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, for example, isn't barred from raising money for his campaign for U.S. Senate against incumbent Maria Cantwell. Neither are any of the other legislators who might run for Inslee's old seat, once they know where the boundary lines are.

Baumgartner to run for the other Senate?

Sen. Mike Baumgartner at his desk on the Senate floor this spring. File photo.

OLYMPIA — State Sen. Mike Baumgartner of Spokane is being discussed for the political equivalent of an upgrade, as a candidate for U.S. Senate against Democrat Maria Cantwell.

Baumgartner said Wednesday evening he's “taking a strong look at it” after being urged to get into the race by some supporters. He said he and wife Elinore will make a decision “in the next few weeks.”

It would be a big jump for Baumgartner…

To read the rest of this item, click to go inside the blog.

In other action from Weds. bills signing

Gov. Chris Gregoire congratulates Sen. Mike Baumgartner on the passage of his government consolidation bill just before she signs it.

OLYMPIA — All the political infighting, negotiating and debating of the last weeks of the special session were essentially condensed Wednesday with bill signings for more than a dozen pieces of legislation.

That meant that some t hings that generated much angst and several stories during the 105-day regular session and the 30-day special session got fairly short shrift Wednesday as Gov. Chris Gregoire signed what is either the Legislature's crowning bipartisan achievement or its shining example of economic irresponsibility, the 2011-13 general operating budget.

But before Gregoire signed the budget, she signed into law the revisions to the workers compensation system that allow for voluntary structured settlements for folks who get hurt on the job, an expansion of family planning services, restrictions on the amount of time a family can receive temporary aid, a revamp of the Disability Lifeline and a study of the possible leasing of the liquor distribution system.

She also signed what turned out to be the last bill passed  in the session, SB5931, which was Spokane Republican Sen. Mike Baumgartner's bill to streamline government by combining several departments like General Administration, printing and information services into a single Department of Enterprise Services. agencies.

“Now we'll implement it, and we'll implement it well, right everybody?” she asked state officials gathered for the signing.

When she got a tepid assent, she repeated “RIGHT, EVERYBODY?” and got stronger agreement.

Baumgartner made the trip over for the bill signing and was all smiles, although it's not clear if it was more because his bill passed or his wife, Eleanor Baumgartner, just had their first child less than a week earlier.

Their son, Conrad Michael Augustine Baumgartner, was born June 6 at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Got something to say to your legislator? Here’s your chance

There's a break in the legislative action this weekend, so several Spokane-area legislators will be back in their home districts to hold town hall meetings.

The break is a result of the Legislature passing a major deadline for voting bills out of one chamber, and not yet reaching a key point in crafting the next biennium's budget, the state economic forecast which comes out March 17. Because of that, neither house is in session this weekend, so it's a good time for legislators to head home for a few days, and Saturday seems like a good day for town hall meetings.

Here's a list of what's scheduled for Saturday.

3rd Legislative District
Sen. Lisa Brown, Reps. Timm Ormsby and Andy Billig.
  10 a.m., Northeast Community Center, 4001 N. Cook St.
  2 p.m., Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, 2316 W. 1st Ave.

6th Legislative District
Sen. Mike Baumgartner, Reps. Kevin Parker and John Ahern
  10:30 a.m. Northwood Middle School gymnasium, 13120 N. Pittsburg St.
  2 p.m., Education themed town hall at Northwood Middle School library, 13120 N. Pittsburg St.
  5 p.m. town hall at the MAC, 2316 W. 1st Ave.

9th Legislative District
Rep. Susan Fagan

  10:30 a.m., WHMC Public Education Building, 1200 W. Fairview St., Colfax
  2 p.m., Cafe Moro, 100 E. Main St., Pullman

WA Lege Day 47: The razzing continues

OLYMPIA — Spokane-area freshmen senators continue to get razzed even when they aren't making their first floor speeches.

More senior members were joking around the Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, during the vote on his first bill, when they observed it was hard to tell all these  young faces apart. Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, suggested that they be regarded as the Spice Boys, with Hill as Baby Spice and Mike Baumgartner of Spokane as Sexy Spice in honor of his appearance in a list in The Inlander.

And what about the guy sitting at Sen. Bob McCaslin's desk, he was asked. That's Old Spice,” Hobbs said of recently appointed 4th District Sen.Jeff Baxter.

WA Lege Day 46: Baumgartner hazed as ‘too sexy’

OLYMPIA — The Senate passed Spokane Republican Mike Baumgartner's first bill easily Thursday, but not before the traditional hazing of a freshman member.

As sponsor of SB 5500, Baumgartner got to move for its passage late Thursday morning, and decided to address head-on a source of notoriety in the early weeks of his freshman year: being named one of the Inland Northwest's Sexiest People by the Pacific Northwest Inlander.

He set himself up for the razzing that was coming by describing the bill — which requires agencies consider the economic impact of their rules on small businesses, seek business input on those rules and actually listen to that input — as a handsome and debonaire proposal to cure an unsightly problems. “Bold is beautiful,” he concluded.

Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, didn't take issue with the bill. Instead, she took the floor to play a few seconds of “I'm Too Sexy” from her cell phone into the microphone. Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, said took issue with her selection, saying it should have been the version by Alvin and the Chipmunks.

“I'm glad you're bringing sexy back to the Senate,” Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, said. “I hope you can give me some of your tips.”

Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, serving as the body's President Pro Tem, later expressed some false surprise: “The president was not aware that there was a shortage of sexy men.”

As is traditional, Baumgartner had gifts delivered to all senators' offices to mark his first speech. He actually sent two, a bottle of Latah Creek's “Spokane Blush” wine, with a quote from G.K. Chesterton about working together, and a lump of coal. His wife is pregnant with their first child and due in June, he said.

“If we don't get out of here in time to see my baby born, I'm taking the wine back and you can keep the coal.”

The session is due to end April 24, but a special session will be called if legislators can't settle on a way to cut an estimated $4.6 billion from the 2011-13 budget. Some legislative staff have been told to be prepared to work through June.

Baumgartner backs Marr

OLYMPIA — A few months ago, Mike Baumgartner and Chris Marr were locked in a generally contentious and historically expensive state Senate campaign in Spokane's 6th District.

Today, Baumgartner was openly supporting Marr — for a spot on the state Liquor Control Board.

Gov. Chris Gregoire's nomination of Marr to the board, which has to be approved by the Senate, came up for a vote in the morning session. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown of Spokane, a fellow Democrat and longtime Marr ally, moved for his confirmation by reciting a long list of positions on Marr's resume.

That would have been enough to get the vote, which was pretty much a foregone conclusion. But Baumgartner, who beat Marr in the November election, rose for his first official floor comments.

“I've known Chris Marr from the campaign trail and I think he'll be an excellent servant to people in his new role,” Baumgartner said. Appointment passed 43-3.

Baumgartner was spared the hazing that usually accompanies a member's first speech for those comments. That will come later, he acknowledged.

Baumgartner ribbed for ‘sexiest’ honor

Sen. Mike Baumgartner talks with Sen. Randi Becker Friday on the Senate floor.

OLYMPIA — Spokane Sen. Mike Baumgartner is taking a fair amount of ribbing from colleagues today, not for a vote he took but for one that was taken on him, naming him among the Inland Northwest's Sexiest People.

This week's edition of The Inlander lists Baumgartner among 11 people the weekly believes deserving of the honor. Arguably, he is The sexiest, considering he's listed first. (And it's not an alphabetized arrangement, like the way the Senate votes that puts him first.) Photocopies of the spread were in good supply in the Republican wings before the floor session started.

The spread also lists his appropriately Republican Turn ons, the Federalist Papers, and Turn offs, Reckless government spending.

Baumgartner was handling it with good humor, calling the accolade “bemusing” and said it was fun to go with his wife for the photo shoot. (She had to help him come up with the appropriate romantic song.)

“It's a great opportunity to get a rare mention of the Federalist Papers in The Inlander,” he said. “It is, by far, the best coverage I've ever got from them.”

Having snagged the honor once, some might feel the pressure to repeat next year. He doesn't.  “Next year, I'll be nominating my wife,” he said.

WA Lege Day 1: Baumgartner sworn in


State Supreme Court Justice Tom Chambers congratulates Mike Baumgartner after swearing him in Monday.

OLYMPIA — With much less drama than Senator-elect Nick Harper's swearing in, Sen. Mike Baumgartner of Spokane's 6th District took the oath of office on the opening day of the session

Baumgartner gets plum panels

OLYMPIA — Senate Republicans released their list of committee assignments today, and Spokane's freshman Sen. Michael Baumgartner appears to be someone they're putting a lot of stock in.

Baumgartner will start his first day in the Legislature as ranking Republican on the Senate Economic Development, Trade and Innovation Committee. He also gets a spot on Higher Education and Workforce Development and Ways and Means (aka a Colleges and “How get and spend your money”)

Not bad for a freshly minted legislator. But there are some perks that come with knocking off an incumbent from the other party, as Baumgartner did in ousting Chris Marr.

Northeast Washington's Bob Morton is the ranking Republican on the Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee and has a seat on Environment, Water and Energy.

Spokane Valley's Bob McCaslin, the Senate's most senior member who missed much of last session with health problems, is on Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections and Judiciary.

Southeast Washington's Mark Schoesler will serve as Republican floor leader and have seats on Ways and Means, Rules, and Agriculture and Rural Economic Development.

Mapping the Vote: 6th District Senate race

Republican challenger Mike Baumgartner is beating Democratic incumbent Sen. Chris Marr in Spokane’s 6th Legislative District by strong showings in precincts outside the city of Spokane.

This map shows vote percentages from the end of election night.

PDC asks AG to take Dem strategist to court

OLYMPIA — The state Public Disclosure Commission voted today to ask Attorney General Rob McKenna to seek civil penalties prosecute a liberal political strategist for concealing the sources of money that helped defeat a Democratic incumbent in the August primary. The violations are so severe, the board said, the primary could be overtuned and the election redone.

The PDC voted 3-0 to reject an offered settlement of $30,000 from Lisa MacLean for disclosure violations in the campaign against state Sen. Jean Berkey of Everett. MacLean helped set up political action committees that concealed that labor unions were helping to fund a Republican challenger as well as a Democratic opponent to Berkey in the primary.

MacLean’s firm, Moxie Media, helped set up Progress PAC and Stand Up For Citizens PAC, which collected money from labor unions to support Democrat Nick Harper over Berkey, whom the unions opposed because of votes against key legislation in the last session. Moxie also set up two other groups, Conservative PAC and Cut Taxes PAC, which sponsored mailer ads and robocalls in support of Republican Rod Rieger. Pre-election reports didn’t disclose the source of the money for the pro-Rieger ads.

Harper finished first in the election and Rieger finished second, 124 votes ahead of Berkey.

A PDC investigation showed MacLean deliberately obscured the source of the money for the independent campaign helping Rieger. Contributions that should have been revealed before the election weren’t disclosed until almost a month after the election. MacLean kept her name off the ads, also, using the name of another member of the firm “because he has a lower profile,” the PDC staff reported. She created secondary PACs to move money around, and told donors it was unlikely they’d be linked to it before the election.

MacLean was willing to settle the complaint for $30,000 but the PDC board said the violations were, in the words of Commissioner Jane Noland “reprehensible.” They turned the case over to the attorney general under a statute that allows for a court to overturn an election if it finds violations by political committees may have effected the outcome. It also allows for fines of $10,000 for each violation of state campaign laws, and treble punitive damages if a judge determines they were intentional.

So why should readers in Spokane care about all this? Because MacLean and her company, Moxie Media, have been busy in the 6th District Senate race, too. More on that later, and in Friday’s Spokesman-Review.

6th Lege Dist: Swing district or spendy district?

Click on the image to get to the PDC’s interactive map on  legislative campaign spending.

A Spokane legislative district is tops in the state for money raised by candidates, and near the top for spending that money before the August primary.

The 6th Legislative District – which curves around central Spokane’s core from the Whitworth and 5 Mile arreas to the South Hill – is often a pricey political battleground. Its last three state Senate races have been the three most expensive Senate races in state history, with the 2008 contest between Democrat Chris Marr and Republican Sen. Brad Benson at the very top of the list with nearly $818,000 spent for a seat that pays just over $42,000 per year.

This year is likely to follow that trend …click to go inside the blog and read the rest of this story or leave a comment.

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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.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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