That Washington

Cantwell Challenger Says He'd Emulate WI Rep. Paul Ryan

By Josh Feit October 10, 2011

State Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane), who officially announced last week that he's taking on two-term US Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), gave some grist to the Democrats—whose election 2012 tactic is to label every Republican candidate a Tea Partier.

Asked what current national politician he would emulate, Baumgartner told the Pacific Northwest Inlander last week he likes US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

"It doesn’t mean I agree with him 100 percent on everything. But he’s driven by facts and data to get the policy right," Baumgatner, a fiscal conservative who went with the Democrats on a couple of big environmental votes and on medical marijuana, told the weekly paper.

He was quick to add: “I’m not a Tea Party member. I’m a Republican Party member."

I have a message in to Baumgartner for a breakdown of what he agrees with Rep. Ryan on and what he doesn't. I also have a message in to health care policy folks in Olympia to see how Ryan's controversial proposals to 1) cap Medicaid and 2) replace Medicare with an $8,000 voucher for seniors to use in the free market would impact Washington State.

(The Congressional Budget Office estimated that Ryan's Medicaid plan would have raised state costs by 35 percent.)

Ryan's austere Medicare plan, of course, was seen as the culprit in last May's special election in upstate New York where a Democrat beat a Republican in a historically red red district.
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