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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Congressional candidate Michael Baumgartner touts early fundraising haul

During a press conference Tuesday in Riverfront Park, County Treasurer and candidate for Congress Michael Baumgartner says his campaign has fundraised over $400.000 in the last month.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

One of Spokane’s most adept campaign fundraisers is running to represent Eastern Washington in Congress, and on Tuesday he revealed a impressive early war chest he hopes marks him as a leader in a crowded field.

Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner, a Republican, announced Tuesday at a small press conference in a blustery Riverfront Park that he had raised over $400,000 in a little over a month since he jumped into the race to succeed Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who announced in February she would not run for reelection.

Baumgartner has experience raising campaign money having won a 2010 race for a Spokane County state Senate seat that at the time was the most expensive race in state legislative history.

He held the press conference nearly a week before the deadline for candidates for federal office to file their campaign finance reports for the first quarter of the year, and neither his nor other candidates’ complete fundraising reports are yet publicly available.

Still, Baumgartner was confident Tuesday that his fundraising would blow away the competition.

In 2022, Baumgartner decried the influence of money in politics, saying he wished he could “ban all political fundraising” and return to an era of campaigning via Lincoln-Douglas debates. But in the modern political landscape, he said Tuesday that it was necessary to spend big in elections.

“It takes more than just money to win in politics, but this is a good benchmark of who has the momentum and who has the most supporters,” he added.