Michael Baumgartner, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Washington State, took exception to an article written about him this week, emailing the author to tell him to "go fuck yourself."
Josh Feit, a reporter for PubliCola blog at Seattle Met Magazine, had interviewed Baumgartner earlier in the week and written a story about how the Republican state senator's views on abortion were similar to those of embattled GOP congressman and Missouri Senate hopeful Todd Akin.
Akin sent shockwaves across the political sphere bysuggesting that "legitimate rape" victims had biological "ways to shut" down pregnancies on their own. Beyond being factually incorrect, Akin's statement also managed to put the strict anti-abortion views of the Republican Party front and center.
On Tuesday, the GOP followed the Akin controversy by approving a plank to its draft platform calling for a constitutional ban on abortion, without an exception for rape.
Baumgartner, like Akin, reportedly opposes abortion even in the cases of rape. While he was quick to condemn Akin's "inexcusable and stupid and ignorant" remarks, Feit reported that their views on abortion were fundamentally identical.
But Baumgartner was apparently upset by Feit's article. As a former diplomat serving in Iraq, and an embedded adviser to the Afghan counternarcotics team in 2009, Baumgartner has attempted to campaign on a platform of ending the war in Afghanistan, a detail that Feit noted in his original story. While reporting on the candidate's anti-abortion stance, Feit also included a statement from Baumgartner decrying the "culture wars" and urging a serious look at foreign policy.
Despite that, however, Baumgartner appeared angry at the focus of Feit's piece, noting his grievances in a terse email to the reporter. It included the following message, alongside a photo of Baumgartner and another man posing with guns:
"Josh, this is Pat Feeks, a Navy SEAL killed last week in Afghanistan. Take a good look and then go fuck yourself."
Baumgartner later released a statement apologizing to Feit for the use of such "strong language," but Feit notes that the Republican has since taken a different tack, telling a reporter from Washington's KIRO that Feit "had it coming."
The Associated Press interviewed Baumgartner, who reportedly said his frustration stemmed from the media's lack of coverage of the war in Afghanistan.
Baumgartner is facing an uphill battle against Democratic incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell, who currently holds a significant advantage in fundraising and name recognition.