Rehashing Old Charges Against Sen. Benton Reveals Tim Probst’s Hypocrisy

by lewwaters

Tim Probst and Sen. Don Benton

There is little doubt that the State Senate race in the 17th Legislative District is one of them, if not the hottest race in the state this election. It is no secret that Democrats have long sought to see Senator Don Benton, elected to the Senate 4 times now, ousted and a Democrat take his place.

Tim Probst, Representative for position 1 in the 17th was enticed to leave his fairly safe House seat and take on Benton, a hard charging and very effective Senator, even though he has been in the minority party his entire time in the Senate.

Evidence of the urgency for the Democrats to defeat Senator Benton comes from several areas, but one of the best would be the words from a Democrat candidate for the State Senate running against Senator Ann Rivers, Ralph Schmidt, who openly says he realizes he has no chance of winning.

Schmidt told the Columbian,

“I actually don’t have a lot of money. The party is supporting me some, but mostly the 17th (District) is like a vortex sucking up all the time and money, because that’s where the competitive races are.”

To that end, the Democrats are sparing no effort to see Tim Probst as the next State Senator in the 17th, even to the point of rehashing old tired allegations against Sen. Benton that failed to win the Democrats the seat in the past. Most notably is the old allegation of Sen. Benton missing an outrageous number of votes and not being there for an unbelievable length of time.

Erik Smith, of the Washington State Wire wrote an in depth look at this race where he reveals some of the incredulous claims made against Benton.

Of the outrageous claim of Benton missing “524 votes” with the question, “Could you miss 524 days of work and keep your job,” and the Probst campaign supporting that claim as “accurate,” Smith wrote,

“And if Benton actually had missed 524 days of work, everyone might agree with that. It would mean Benton hadn’t bothered showing up at his desk in the Senate since 2007.”

We all know that is not true and obviously not accurate either. But Probst, who would rather wallow in the mud again since he cannot match Don Benton when it comes to the issues that really affect Clark County, also reveals his own hypocrisy over missing votes in his support of the claim.

Since Erik Smith is up in Olympia, he does not have the day to day knowledge of what goes on down here in Clark County or what is published in the Columbian, the unofficial daily newsletter for the CRC & Democrat Party.

He contacted me about something Probst said back when Deb Wallace decided of running again and lambasted Jaime Herrera Beutler in 2010 for her several “missed votes” and having a seat mate push the voting button on her behalf.

When asked about “missing votes” in the House, Probst responded with,

“It’s not like someone is making a decision for you. You let a colleague know how you want to vote while you’re away for a few minutes, and they push the button for you.”

The Senate cannot allow someone else to vote on their behalf as in the House and if it is remembered, quite a stink was raised over Wallace’s allegation against Herrera back then. But it raises a couple points Probst might not be too comfortable with.

First, since he has no problem with seat mates voting on behalf of others not on the floor to vote themselves, how do we know his near complete record of voting in the House is accurate? The votes registered make no distinction as to who pushed the button, just that the Representatives vote was cast.

Secondly, given Probst’s cavalier attitude towards others not being present to cast their vote and the possibility that Probst just may have missed more votes himself than he lets on to, where does he come from blasting Don Benton over missing votes?

As Smith says in his article, quoting Sen. Benton,

“It’s a little disingenuous for Tim Probst and I to come and meet with a fourth-grade class from Harmony Elementary, talk with them for 20 minutes, and answer their questions and then go back to our respective floors, Tim not having missed a single vote by doing so, and me missing four or five votes while I am doing so.”

Not mentioned by Probst or the Democrats is that “the Senate passes far more routine legislation than the House, some 2,000 gubernatorial appointments every four years” as well as our legislature has been focused on several mundane issues in recent years, such as voting for a state rock.

Then too, as said above, how are we to know if Tim Probst really was present to cast his vote if he feels having others vote in your place was acceptable just two years ago?

It is also disingenuous of Probst to claim, “When I’m in the Senate, I will follow the Senate voting rules and cast votes,” as what other choice does he have?

Would he snub school children just to be present to vote on every mundane proposal or nomination that comes in? Would he place a state rock as more important than meeting with and talking to small children on a field trip to Olympia?

Probst has shown himself to be a hypocrite, excusing missing votes in the House just two years ago and now trying to paint Sen. Benton as an ineffective Senator who doesn’t show up when we all know that is untrue.

As Don said in the Washington State Wire article,

“I tell the truth to people. If you ask me how I feel about something, I don’t try to obfuscate where I’m at or talk in circles or be namby-pamby about it. No, I tell you I’m opposed to that and this is why. Or I support that and this is why. You know, a lot of times legislators are afraid to say yes or no because they will alienate somebody. And so they try to hide their real position.”

Or they take a hypocritical position to lure voters into voting for them, right Tim?

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