It’s no secret that the Washington State Democrats have wanted rid of 4-term Republican State Senator Don Benton in the 17th Legislative District as he has been one of the most outspoken opponents to their agenda of taxing citizens to death and empowering public unions, not to mention forcing Southwest Washington to accept Portland, Oregon’s financially plagues light rail into our community and state against our will.
They have placed their hopes in 17th District Representative Tim Probst, the boyishly faced 2-term Rep who has been carefully crafted to appear as what he is not, as I explained in the post, Why Won’t Tim Probst Take A Stand On The Largest Issue Facing SW Washington?
Tim Probst enjoys hiding his true nature behind his boyish face and in spite of a history of pledging “clean campaigns,” his past 2 elections have shown he stealthily engages in negative attacks ads, even to the point of copyright violations, as was acknowledged to me in email with Columbian editor Lou Brancaccio back in October 2010.
Again this year, we see Tim leaning on his signing the Clean Campaign Pledge and even needling Benton because Tim signed it first, even though Senator Benton also has a history of signing and adhering to the pledge.
Probst’s history of adherence to the Clean Campaign pledge is a bit shakier, often relying on others to do his dirty work so he appears clean, as was noted in the 2008 campaign HERE and again in 2010 HERE, HERE and HERE.
It is also widely known around the region that Tim Probst was pledged upwards of $250K in negative attack ads against Senator Benton to entice him to run, quickly denounced by Michael King, executive director of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee as “blatantly untrue” in response to Senator Benton’s claim of, “My opponent has been promised $250,000 in negative attack mail by the Seattle Democrat machine.”
The offer was confirmed to me by another Democrat candidate that was first presented with the offer, but declined in order to run for another office.
King added, “This is made up. This is not factually correct. Don Benton is making something up out of thin air,” as mentioned in the Columbian, or as we prefer, the unofficial daily newsletter for the Democrat Party.
Senator Benton’s claim appears to be a great deal more factual than Michael King acknowledged, as we see lately that 17th district voters are receiving a series of negative attack ads against Benton with some of the vilest and erroneous rhetoric ever in their mailboxes, sent out by a group calling themselves the “Working Families For The 17th District.”
Catchy name for a Democrat front group, wouldn’t you say?
A quick search of the Public Disclosure Commission reveals that this groups reports are signed by a Jason Bennett, with payments being paid to Argo Strategies, “a political consulting firm based in Seattle” formed by Bennett in 2005 and who states at the top of their webpage, “Let us navigate the rough campaign waters. You go and win.”
As mentioned on THE ARGO TEAM page concerning Bennett,
“Jason Bennett first plunged into politics when he interned at US Senator Patty Murray’s office in the spring of 1997. Shortly following the internship, Jason accepted a position in the Washington State Legislature with the office of State Rep. Jeff Morris. Nearly two years later, Jason caught the campaign bug and moved over to the House Democratic Campaign Committee as their Operations Director where he helped secure the majority for House Democrats in Nov. 2001. After five years working on Democratic campaigns, Jason was recruited to the office of US Senator Maria Cantwell and served as her State Outreach Director, managing an outreach team of seven.”
“In early 2005, he decided to take his extensive campaign experience and political contacts and form Argo Strategies, a political consulting firm based in Seattle. During the last several years, Argo Strategies has helped over 150 federal, state and local campaigns win – either with award-winning direct mail, compliance and treasury consulting or web/technology work. A few of their successful clients include Seattle Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton, Tacoma City Council member Victoria Woodards, State Representative Cindy Ryu and Yes on Referendum 71 campaign, the only gay-rights initiative to pass in the country.”
Yes, Bennett is a long-time and well connected Washington State Democrat Strategist in Seattle who is dedicated to just about any tactic to defeat Republicans. He doesn’t live or actually work in the 17th Legislative District, as does Senator Benton nor does he even vote in the 17th. I highly doubt he has even ever met Don Benton, yet he has launched a series of bitter ads, depicting Senator Benton as a “king living high on the hog,” “having earned over One Million Dollars” in the legislature, which is impossible with our part-time legislators who are paid just over $40K a year.
Senator Benton has been in office for 18 years, you do the math.
The same negative attack ad also makes the claim, “This Election, vote to protect your taxpayer dollars. Vote to DUMP DON BENTON.”
Apparently, being negative isn’t enough, they resort to outright lies as anybody who knows Senator Benton knows he has a strong record of standing up for taxpayers and opposing Democrats frequent tax increases. He continually opposes projects that threaten to bankrupt taxpayers with excessive fees, tolls and taxes, projects that Tim Probst will not even take a public stand on.
While I have not come across a direct link to Tim Probst and Argo Strategies yet, I am reminded of Probst making a lot of noise over his signing onto the Clean Campaign Pledge that includes four promises:
• Candidates will be honest about their records and policies.
• They won’t launch unfair or misleading attacks against the opposition.
• They won’t make personal attacks.
• They will denounce any independent political group that unfairly attacks the opposition.
Tim Probst remains silent over these misleading, underhanded and erroneous negative attack ads from the so called Working Families For the 17th District.
It is apparent that if voters in the 17th Legislative District wish a State Senator with honesty and integrity, Senator Don Benton is the clear choice, not Tim Probst.
UPDATE: According to the Columbian, the unofficial daily newsletter for the CRC & Democrat Party, Tim Probst has allegedly “criticized the tone” of the Democrat hit piece of Senator Benton. They allege Probst said, “The content appears to be accurate, but that one is not my style at all. I’m going to be asking all sides — my opponents and my allies — to stay truthful and factual and calm during the campaign.”
That is typical Tim Probst, first he claims the hit piece is “accurate,” then soft shoes it with a “please be calm & truthful.”
His words fall far short of any denunciation, although they are designed to appear as if he did.
The Columbian also chose to ignore & not inform readers of the connection of the hit piece to the Democrat Party through Argo Strategies.