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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Brian Heywood, man behind slate of consequential initiatives, backs Michael Baumgartner for Congress

Brian Heywood, the hedge fund manager who the Seattle Times in January called maybe “the most consequential figure in Washington politics” this year, has endorsed Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner in his bid for Congress.

Heywood, who was hailed like a celebrity at the recent Washington state GOP convention in Spokane, spearheaded an unprecedented effort to get six citizen initiatives onto the November ballot. Three of those, lifting restrictions on police pursuit, establishing a “bill of rights” for parents of public school children and reinforcing the state constitution’s prohibition on income taxes, were pre-emptively codified into law earlier this year by the state legislature.

Three other measures, eliminating the state’s new capital gains tax, allowing residents to opt out of the long-term care payroll tax and requiring utilities and local governments to provide natural gas to eligible customers, are all still slated for a vote in November.

Heywood, who recently attended Baumgartner’s annual “Baumtoberfest,” told The Spokesman-Review Thursday that he was endorsing the county treasurer to represent Eastern Washington in Congress. Baumgartner is one of 11 candidates running for the seat being vacated by longtime incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

“I think he’s got some real serious experience behind him that allows him to make good decisions,” Heywood said. “And that’s about the best you can get.”

Heywood was hesitant to publicly announce his support, pausing to choose his words carefully.

“This is me stepping in manure,” he noted. “Any side you take on this, I’ll get people that will hate me for that or call me this, or call me that.”

Baumgartner acknowledged Heywood’s support in a brief Thursday interview.

“I think what Brian has done this year to personally lead the charge to back these very important initiatives to return common sense to our state is extremely admirable, and I admire his efforts to fight back and look forward to being a partner with him when I get to Congress,” Baumgartner said.