Republican Senate candidate Michael Baumgartner apologized Tuesday afternoon for sending a vulgar e-mail to local journalist Josh Feit Monday night. He meant it to be “a personal e-mail,” he said.
“This was a follow-up e-mail to a previous conversation with a local blogger,” Baumgartner said in a written statement. “I apologize to Josh for my strong language.”
He went on to say he sent the message out of frustration that more media attention hasn’t been given to his campaign platform to end the war in Afghanistan. “The problem is that many media outlets, including PubliCola, do not want to talk about why these men and women continue to be killed. They don’t want to discuss Maria Cantwell’s record supporting the war in Afghanistan or a smarter foreign policy that can save thousands of lives in the future,” he wrote.
Feit published the e-mail Tuesday on his politics blog, PubliCola, Tuesdsay afternoon. He said he interviewed Baumgartner, a state senator running against Democrat Sen. Maria Cantwell, Monday to get his take on the political news of the day: comments made by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri, about rape and pregnancy. During the interview, Baumgartner expressed frustration that social issues were getting so much attention, while his biggest issue, ending the war in Afghanistan, was not.
Then, at 10:45 p.m. Monday, Baumgartner e-mailed Feit a photo of himself and a Navy SEAL, Pat Feeks, who died recently in Afghanistan. “Take a good look and then go (expletive) yourself,” Baumgartner wrote.
In an interview Tuesday, Baumgartner confirmed he sent the e-mail and said it was part of a larger conversation, which he would not describe. “It was sent from my personal e-mail. It was a personal comment to Josh,” he said.
Feit said he responded with a question mark, and Tuesday he called the campaign and got no response. He reached Baumgartner, he said, but was disconnected before he could ask any questions.
“I was bewildered when I got that e-mail last night,” he said.
Baumgartner apologized several months ago for going after Cantwell for being unmarried, saying she ”frequently voted to undermine the role of parents in child-rearing.”