Photographers Stalk Wife of Washington Senate Candidate
Washington State Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R- Spokane, is challenging U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, for her seat in Congress this November. He's prepared for the political battles, but not for photographers paid by the WA State Democratic Party to stalk his wife.
Photographers and videographers have identified themselves as paid workers for the state Democratic party and are following Baumgartner at every public appearance hoping to capture media to be used in future campaign ads. While Baumgartner realizes this is part of the ugly war of politics, he feels one of them crossed the line.
Last week, one of the Democratic operatives followed Baumgartner's wife Eleanor as she walked across a dark parking lot near a store in a suburb of Seattle. According to reports, the photographer followed Baumgartner's wife in his truck as she made her way across the lot returning home from getting some food for their infant son. Sen. Baumgartner lauded the toughness and spirit of his wife, but said the incident frightened her.
According to Baumgartner's website, on March 15 this same photographer had tried to gain access to a private meeting of the Lakewood Republican Womens' meeting, but was refused. He then attempted to photograph the proceedings by peering in a window. Lakewood police were called, but the photographer retreated to his truck parked on the public street and waited until Baumgartner and the women in the meeting left several hours later.
Baumgartner sent a letter to Dwight Spelz, the Chairman of the State Democratic Committee, asking that the stalking cease. No word on a reply from the committee chairman.