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Washington potato director denies wrongdoing in republican primary

Chris Voigt, well know form his 20-potatoes-a-day diet
July 20, 2014
Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, Moses Lake, is the focal point of a Republican primary election controversy involving the race between Clint Didier and his opponent Dan Newhouse.

In the midst of the contest for a U.S. House of Representative seat in central Washington which will culminate in an Aug. 5 primary election, Voigt’s involvement on Newhouse’s behalf came into question.

“My campaign team has been contacted by several individuals upset that Dan’s campaign chair (Chris Voigt) is using Washington State resources to promote the campaigns of Newhouse and Sen. Patty Murray,” Didier, in a July 10 statement on his campaign website . “We have in our possession numerous e-mails from Voigt’s state agency e-mail address that bear this out,” he said in the statement.

Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission, said he is a low-level organizer, serving as Grant County co-captain for the Newhouse campaign.

“I think it is a mountain out of a molehill, but I’m certainly going to cooperate with any ethics investigation,” Voigt said.

Voigt said, as of July 16, he hasn’t been informed of any formal investigation ongoing.

Voigt said the Didier campaign’s accusation that Voigt used taxpayer resources in the campaign was impossible, since the potato commission gets no tax dollars from the state. Potato growers are the only source of funding for the quasi-governmental agency, he said. All commissioners are grower-elected and not political appointees, he said. Even the commission’s domain name on the Web, potatoes.com, is owned by growers, he said.

Voigt said anything related to the campaign was done on his own time and there was no cost incurred to the Washington Potato Commission.

Chris Voigt received international media exposure three years ago, when he went on a strict potatoes-only diet for 60 days (20-potatoes-a-day) in order to emphasize the excellent nutritional value of potatoes.
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The mission of the Washington State Potato Commission is to serve the potato growers of Washington State by facilitating the awareness and value of Washington state potatoes.