Mid-Columbia voters give Hastings another term in D.C.

By Annette Cary, Tri-City HeraldNovember 7, 2012 

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., had a wide lead Tuesday night in the race for the Washington 4th District congressional seat.

He had 100,880 votes district wide, or 67 percent of votes counted, compared to challenger Mary Baechler's 50,367 votes or 33 percent.

Hastings was leading Tuesday night in all eight counties or partial counties that make up the 4th District.

In Benton County, Hastings, of Pasco, had 36,883 votes with a count of ballots processed through Monday plus some turned in Election Day. Baechler, a Yakima Democrat, had 15,927 votes, or 30 percent compared to Hastings' 70 percent.

In Franklin County, Hastings had 8,763 votes with ballots processed through Monday counted Tuesday night. Baechler had 3,850 votes, or 30 percent of the votes counted compared to Hastings' 70 percent.

During the campaign, Baechler said Hastings had spent too much time working on special interests in the oil natural gas and coal industries -- industries that don't have a presence in the 4th District.

But Hastings countered that as a member of Congress and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, addressing national issues such as energy production is an important part of the job. It also benefits residents, farmers and business owners of Central and Southeast Washington, he said.

Hastings has held the position since January 1995 and the next term will be his 10th.

He has been a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama two years ago.

He has supported oil drilling offshore and on public lands and opposed breaching Northwest hydroelectric dams.

He voted in favor of the budget plan Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan introduced in the House and was critical of the Senate for failing to pass either the Ryan budget or one of its own.

That could lead to sequestration or automatic federal spending cuts triggered if Congress can't agree on a balanced budget.

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