REPUBLICAN MICHAEL BAUMGARTNER TO RUN AGAINST CANTWELL
Washington State Senator Michael Baumgartner tells KING-5 he will make an official announcement Monday launching his campaign and becoming the first Republican challenger to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.
On KING 5 News Up Front, Baumgartner says he has spent weeks talking with key Republicans across the state and is ready to jump in. ”We’ve done some exploring and the response has been overwhelming and on Monday, we’ll be announcing that we’re running for U-S Senate,” Baumgartner said.
"I’m very concerned about the direction America is on, we all see the problems in D.C., the partisan bickering, the reckless spending, the seemingly endless wars, and I don’t see Maria Cantwell doing much to change that," Baumgartner said in his first television interview as a candidate.
The Spokane Republican says he will focus his campaign on foreign policy and the economy. “We do need jobs growth here, we’re not going to get it from the policies of Maria Canwtwell, which is going to environmental extremism, and regulatory extremism, that’s not what America was built on,” Baumgartner said.
Born in Pullman, Baumgartner went to Washington State University and got his Masters at Harvard University in International Development. He says he went as a civilian economics officer to Iraq, also spending time in Afghanistan, and returned to Washington State doing part-time consulting on the Middle East.
Baumgartner is a relative newcomer to politics, diving into politics last fall. He ran for Washington State Senate, ousting Spokane Democrat Chris Marr in an expensive and hotly-contested race. He has served only one legislative session in Olympia, sponsoring the Senate bill to consolidate several state agencies. “I have an obligation to the people of Spokane and Washington state to fight for better government. And I want to do that at all levels,” he said.
His platform for U.S. Senate includes supporting a balanced budget amendment, repealing health care reform and speeding up the withdrawl of troops. “It’s time to bring these wars to a close, responsibly and we need people in the Senate that understand international policies and don’t just write blank checks,” Baumgartner said.
Baumgartner faces numerous challenges in the months ahead. Few statewide elected officials have come from Eastern Washington, with much of the population in Western Washington. He raised an impressive $450,000 for his state legislative campaign, but will need to raise considerably more for a statewide race. It’s also not clear who else might jump into the race. Congressman Dave Reichert is continues to consider a run, and former Bloomberg anchor Phillip Yin tells KING 5, he’s preparing to announce his candidacy later this month.
Up Front this Sunday: Our exclusive interview with both Baumgartner and Yin. KING-5 at 9:30 a.m.; KONG at 11 a.m.; NWCN at 8 p.m.