Michael Baumgartner

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Michael Baumgartner
Michael Baumgartner 2013 Senate Session.jpg
Member of the Washington Senate
from the 6th district
Assumed office
January 10, 2011
Preceded by Chris Marr
Personal details
Born Michael James Baumgartner
(1975-12-13) December 13, 1975 (age 42)
Pullman, Washington, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Eleanor Mayne
Children 4
Education Washington State University,
Harvard University (MPA)
Website Senate website

Michael James Baumgartner (born December 13, 1975)[1] is a member of the Washington State Senate and a Republican. He was the 2012 Republican nominee for U.S Senate (United States Senate election in Washington, 2012), unsuccessfully challenging Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

State Senator Michael Baumgartner, with his son, Conrad.

Baumgartner was born in Pullman, his mother is a Kindergarten teacher and his father was a professor of Forestry and Natural Resource Sciences. After graduating from Pullman High School, he earned a scholarship to attend Washington State University. There, he was awarded a Thomas Foley scholarship, and was named a Stephenson scholar, an award given to the top graduates from the Honors College, he graduated in 1999 with a degree in Economics with minors in French and Mathematics. In 2002, he earned a master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.

During the Iraq War, he served as the Economics Officer in the Office of Joint Strategic Planning & Assessment (JSPA) at the United States Embassy in Baghdad, helping the Iraqi government as part of the Baghdad Security Plan, receiving accolades from then General David Petraeus as well as Ambassador Ryan Crocker.[2] In 2008, he spent 7 months working as a civilian contractor in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, that same year, the Boston Globe referred to Baumgartner as the "Architect of Hope" in the Middle East.[3][4]

Michael and his wife, Eleanor, have three sons and one daughter. Michael and Eleanor got married after meeting in Afghanistan in 2010.

Washington State Senate[edit]

State Senator Baumgartner and former General David Petraeus, August 28, 2009

Baumgartner represents parts of the City of Spokane (map), Airway Heights, and Cheney including Eastern Washington University.


In late 2009, Baumgartner decided to run against Democrat State Senate Majority Whip Chris Marr for the Washington State Senate, 6th Legislative District seat, on August 17, 2010, in the state primary election, Baumgartner defeated Marr with 53% of the vote.[5] In the November election, he officially defeated Marr with 54% of the vote,[6] the election battle between Marr and Baumgartner is considered one of the most hotly contested and expensive state legislative races in Washington state history.

During his campaign for State Senate, Baumgartner said he would not support a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy in cases of rape.[7] In that same year, Baumgartner signed the Spokane County Republican Party Platform which called for the privatizing of Social Security, the abolition of the United States Department of Education, the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations, withdrawal of the United States from the World Trade Organization, and the abolition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.[8]

Washington State Senate election from the 6th District, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Michael Baumgartner 33,929 54
Democratic Chris Marr (Incumbent) 29,237 46


During his tenure as Washington State Senator, Baumgartner has sponsored keynote legislation such as an amendment to the Washington State Senate to rise Higher Education to the State's #2 focus, reorganizing and streamlining central service functions, powers, and duties of the State Government, and reforming the rule-making process for State Economic Policy (the latter two receiving 47–0 votes in the State Senate).[9]

In 2012 Baumgartner was named one of the National Federation of Independent Business's Guardians of Business, the highest award they offer, in recognition of his votes that side "100 Percent" with small businesses.[10] The Association of Washington Business has awarded him their 'Cornerstone Award' also, in recognition of his support for employers, economic development, and business-related issues in the Washington State Legislature.[11]

Committee assignments[edit]

In 2011 and 2012, Baumgartner was the ranking minority member of the Economic Development Trade & Innovation Committee, served on the Ways & Means Committee, and the Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.[12]

In 2013, two Democrats joined with the 23 Republicans to form the Majority Coalition Caucus,[13] with the new coalition, Baumgartner was named Vice-Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and was also assigned to the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee, the Higher Education Committee, and the Human Services and Corrections Committee.[14]

2012 U.S. Senate election[edit]

In October 2011, Baumgartner decided to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Cantwell was running for her third term.[15] Washington uses a "top-two" nonpartisan blanket primary system, in which the top two candidates of any party in the primary election advance to the general election. Cantwell and Baumgartner finished first and second, respectively, and competed in the general election.

Baumgartner has formally endorsed Washington Initiative 502 to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for adults 21 and over, making him the first and only candidate for statewide office in Washington state to do so, and taking a position that wasn't popular in his party.[16][17]

In the November general election, Cantwell defeated Baumgartner. Cantwell received over 60% of the vote, to Baumgarter's 40%.


  1. ^ "Michael Baumgartner (R) - Candidate for US Senate". KHQ. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  2. ^ "Honors College: Michael Baumgartner". Honors.wsu.edu. 2006-02-14. Archived from the original on 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  3. ^ "What I'd rather read - The Boston Globe". Boston.com. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  4. ^ "Vote Michael Baumgartner for US Senate". Baumgartnerforsenate.com. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  5. ^ "WA State Senate District 6 - Open Primary Race - Aug 17, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  6. ^ "WA State Senate District 6 Race - Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  7. ^ Brunt, Jonathan (October 30, 2010). "Spin Control". Spokesman Review. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  8. ^ Feit, Josh (October 3, 2011). "Baumgartner Announces Candidacy; Addresses Controversial Pledge". Seattle Met. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  9. ^ "Bill Sponsorship". Leg.wa.gov. Archived from the original on 2012-08-07. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  11. ^ "Home - Senate Republican Caucus". senaterepublicans.wa.gov. Retrieved 2017-10-06. 
  12. ^ "Baumgartner". Leg.wa.gov. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  13. ^ "2 Dems join GOP in state Senate coup, say parties will split power | Politics Northwest". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2017-10-06. 
  14. ^ "Baumgartner named vice chair of budget-writing Ways and Means Committee as part of Majority Coalition Caucus". Michael Baumgartner. Retrieved 2017-10-06. 
  15. ^ "Washington - Oregon - Idaho". Nwcn.com. 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  16. ^ "Baumgartner endorses marijuana initiative". Spin Control (blog). The Spokesman-Review. October 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  17. ^ "Cantwell's GOP Foe Wants Legal Pot". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. October 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Mike McGavick
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Washington
(Class 1)

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