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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

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.

Marr said "you have to ask yourself" why Baumgartner didn't attend a forum that focused on women's issues. Baumgartner "probably would not have fared well on those issues in front of that group," Marr said.

Baumgartner's campaign responded to Marr's news release with its own release, accusing Marr of being "desperate." It called the accusation about Baumgartner's absence from the forum part of an "unscrupulous and dishonest attack campaign."

Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt joined The Spokesman-Review in 2004. He is the government editor. He previously was a reporter who covered Spokane City Hall, Spokane County government and public safety.

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