Expertise or Ideology?

Dear Group,

The race for Treasurer of Spokane  County is a perfect example of a race between expertise and ideology. David Green is a Certified Public Accountant and decades of experience in finance. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind as to David Green’s qualifications and ability to discharge the duties of the office of Spokane County Treasurer. Most striking for me are his two of his endorsements: Vicky Dalton and David and Mary Kulisch. 

Vicky Dalton has served for twenty years as Spokane County Auditor, a county office with diverse duties and oversight, including elections, motor vehicle licensing, and public records. She has served with such evenness and fairness she has rarely drawn an election challenger. She “Prefers Democratic Party” but serves in an entirely non-partisan manner. She rarely endorses candidates. (Take note that in this election cycle she has also endorsed Mary Kuney for Spokane County Commissioner.)

I know David and Mary Kulisch. They are the parents of a friend of my son through the LCHS cross country team. They are upright, principled people. In their endorsement they state, “We are Republicans, we are Seniors, we are Mormons, and we support the most qualified candidate for County Treasurer, David Green.” 

Contrast bipartisan endorsements and clear expertise with the background of the other candidate, Michael Baumgartner. He crept into the office of State Senator for Legislative District 6 on the Tea Party wave of 2010. He hadn’t even warmed his seat at the State House, when, in 2012 the middle of his first four year State Senate term he challenged Maria Cantwell for her U.S. Senate seat. (He was roundly beaten, roughly 60-40.) Perhaps he was seeing the writing on the wall when he quietly mentioned he was not going to run for State Senate again. Instead he would run for Spokane County Treasurer. You wouldn’t know that from his fundraising emails of the time (which I’ve been receiving). He asks for money but avoids mentioning for what he is now running. I have yet to see a yard sign that identifies him as a candidate for treasurer rather than Senator. He is running a campaign that depends on name recognition and his presumption of the ignorance of the voters. He expects to roll in the tide.

His qualifications for Treasurer are modest at best. He says he will “fight for the same conservative principles of fiscal responsibility, jobs growth and quality education” as he did as Senator. That is not the job for which he is applying. The treasurer does not legislate or fight, the treasurer administers. 

There is a persistent rumor, bolstered by the recycling of his yard signs and the issues page of his website, that Mr. Baumgartner views Treasurer as a short term job on his way to a run for mayor of Spokane or yet another public office. In short he has all the makings and history of political climber, not someone signing up to serve in a predominantly administrative office.

Finally, like all far right wing ideologues covered by (including McMorris Rodgers, by the way) Baumgartner has professed such purity of ideology that his “interview” isn’t even posted. He is “Endorsed.” He passes all the litmus tests of far right ideology. He is highly aligned with WBWV. Passing all their tests as a right wing ideologue may be sufficient proof that he would choose ideology over analysis, and likely abdicate his responsibility to think.

The Spokane County Treasurer’s contest is a contest between a man, David Green, with expertise and qualifications for the job at hand, a man offering that expertise to serve the citizens of the Spokane community. His opponent is a climbing politician looking for an interim position. He hopes to sail in based on name recognition and a dogmatic commitment to far right ideology. Don’t let him succeed. Vote for expertise. Vote for David Green.

Keep to the high ground,


*Ideologue: an adherent of an ideology, especially one who is uncompromising and dogmatic: a conservative ideologue.

P.S. Rob Chase, the current Spokane County Treasurer and also an WBWV ideologue, is leaving open the Treasurer position and attempting to wrestle Mary Kuney, a more moderate Republican, from her Spokane County Commissioner’s position. Kuney was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee (when Al French and Josh Kerns, the other two commissioners couldn’t agree on whom to appoint to a vacant seat). Meanwhile, Jeff Holy is trying to slide into the District 6 WA Senate on Baumgartner’s coattails from his current District 6 Rep position. It seems like a sort of ideologue’s version of musical chairs.