DECISION 2014: Race for the 6th Legislative District, Baumgartne - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

DECISION 2014: Race for the 6th Legislative District, Baumgartner vs. Cowan

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Rich Cowan (D) facing off against incumbent State Senator Michael Baumgartner (R) for the 6th Legislative District Rich Cowan (D) facing off against incumbent State Senator Michael Baumgartner (R) for the 6th Legislative District
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GET YOUR FULL ELECTION RESULTS HERE

The first round of ballots counted in Tuesday night show that Michael Baumgartner has 57% of the vote in the race for the 6th Legislative District. Challenger Rich Cowan had 43% of the vote.

Washingtonians voting in these midterm elections have seen unprecedented amounts of money thrown at campaigns. 

Two Spokane legislative districts have Senate seats on this year's ballot, but only the 6th District race between incumbent Republican Mike Baumgartner and Democratic challenger Rich Cowan could affect control on a national level.

Michael Baumgartner represents the 6th District in Spokane currently. He is the Vice-Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and also serves on the Senate Higher Education and Trade and Economic Development Committees.

On small business Baumgartner has said on his website “Small businesses are the engine that makes Washington's economy go, and too often government agencies implement new and burdensome regulations that throw sand in the gears.”

Back in March, 2014 Baumgartner sponsored Senate Bill 6405, which provides clarity on how nonprofit tax-exempt property may be used. “I'm not sure why the state ever thought it should be taxing bake sales and community car washes in the first place,” Baumgartner said. “But I'm glad we got it fixed.”

On the development of medical education in Eastern Washington Baumgartner is quoted as saying “It's a relief to not only see the state doing something about a shortage of doctors in our area, but to see that money invested in WSU Spokane's medical program.”

According to records obtained from the Public Disclosure Commission Baumgartner's campaign has raised $480,754.24 and spent $306,960.27. Top donors include the Washington State Republican Party, 6th District Legislative Committee, and dozens of one time donations of the Legislative Candidate Committee contribution limit of $950 from private and corporate donors on both the East and West side of Washington state. 

Baumgartner was born in Pullman and attended high school in Spokane before attending Washington State University (WSU), where he graduated in 1999, with a degree in Economics. While at WSU he was named a Foley Scholar and a Stephenson Scholar, the top award of the Honor's College. He also holds a Masters in Public Administration in International Development from Harvard University and taught there as a Teaching Fellow in Economics.Baumgartner and his wife have two sons – Conrad and Roman – and welcomed their daughter, Victoria, in 2014.

Opponent Rich Cowan is running on the Democrat ticket. Cowan's website quotes him as saying “I have spent more than 24 years creating family wage jobs in the Spokane area through my film company North by Northwest Productions.”

He co-founded North by Northwest Productions, which is a video and film production company. After starting the company in 1990 with a group of partners, he served as its CEO for 22 years, helping to produce more than 40 feature films. Education is one of Cowan's key issues. “We are very proud of Eastern, Gonzaga, WSU, Whitworth, our other community colleges.” He posted on his website, “unfortunately, over the last four years, higher education has become increasingly out of reach for middle class families.”

Rich Cowan was born in Spokane, Washington. He attended Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism, cum laude, and a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition. While in Pullman, Cowan worked as a fire fighter and emergency medical technician. Cowan earned his pilot's license in high school and worked as a pilot in Alaska while in college.

Cowan lists his priorities on the campaign website as pushing for improvements to the Geiger interchange, making improvements to the Medical Lake (902) interchange, completing the North/South Corridor, and making improvements to the Cheney/Spokane Highway. 

According to records obtained from the Public Disclosure Commission top donors to Cowan's campaign include the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 598 Political Action Committee, Market Vision, Spokane Physician Darryl Potyk, and Sioux Falls, ND resident Franklin O. Greer of the Consultant Group GMMB. Cowan's campaign has raised $278,380.62 spent $260,965.03.

The 6th Legislative District includes the South Hill, West Plains and much of northwest Spokane. Senate terms are two years. The position pays $42,106 per year.

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