Rantz: Was Democrat Timm Ormsby drunk while working on the state budget?

Feb 14, 2018, 7:06 AM | Updated: 12:05 pm
Timm Ormsby, drunk driving...
State Representative Timm Ormsby. (Washington House Democrats)
(Washington House Democrats)

Over the weekend, State Representative Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane) crashed his jeep into a yard in Olympia. According to reports, he was drunk at the time and was charged with DUI.

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According to KXLY, a Thurston County Sheriff’s deputy smelled “a heavy odor of alcohol” coming from the over-turned jeep, which went airborne after hitting a ditch, causing it to spin and “land on its driver’s side…”

When questioned, Ormsby claimed a text message from his wife distracted him and before he knew it his car was “upside down.”

But there appears to be much more to the story, per KXLY:

According to the deputy, Ormsby said he had ‘two beers’ and that he drank them at work … he said they were working on the state budget and he had taken a break and drank somewhere near the old brewery.'”

The report said there was a “heavy odor of alcohol” coming from Ormsby, that his eyes were bloodshot and droopy, and that his speech was slurred.

He agreed to a portable breath test that showed his blood-alcohol content was .110 – well above the .08. He lost his balance during a one-leg test and he stumbled during the “walk and turn” test.

Upon his arrest, Ormsby admitted to also drinking two beers around 1 p.m., before heading to work.

“It’s unclear if he ever actually went to his place of employment or if he was ‘working’ from the bar,” the deputy wrote. “He did have some budget paperwork in the jeep for work.”

Given the timeline of his drinking, it begs a serious question: Was Ormsby drunk while working on the budget? The report says he claims he was working — whether at the bar or in his offices in Olympia — while also acknowledging consuming at least four beers between 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

According to Q13’s Brandi Kruse, Ormsby was not drinking in front of staff during a 4 p.m. budget meeting. However, he “did appear ‘tired,’ but no one thought he was under the influence.” Democratic Caucus staff told Kruse they have never seen the representative drinking on campus or during legislative activity.

Ormsby serves as the chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the Spokesman reports “House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-Covington) said no decision has been made yet about whether Ormsby will lose his chairmanship.”

If he doesn’t suffer any consequences, it would be a bad look for Democrats. Not only would it say getting drunk while working on a budget is appropriate, but getting hit with a DUI isn’t severe enough for rebuke?

Orsmby released a statement after the media caught wind of the DUI arrest:

“I made a very poor choice this weekend, and I want to apologize to my constituents, colleagues, friends and family,” the statement says. “I have faith in our justice system and will abide by whatever consequences I receive. Right now, I’m focused on my duties as a legislator: Drafting a state operating budget and serving the people I represent.”

A poor choice indeed. I just hope as he continues his focus on drafting a budget that he does it with a more appropriate beverage.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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Rantz: Was Democrat Timm Ormsby drunk while working on the state budget?