Washington GOP rep won't seek reelection

Washington GOP rep won't seek reelection
© Greg Nash

Rep. Dave ReichertDavid ReichertJuan Williams: Momentum builds against gerrymandering GOP worries as state Dems outperform in special elections Targeted Republicans push back on retirement speculation MORE (R-Wash.), a seven-term Republican from a potential swing district outside Seattle, will not seek reelection next year, he said Wednesday.

Reichert first won his seat in 2004, when he replaced Republican Rep. Jennifer Dunn in an eastern King County district. In a statement, Reichert said he decided to quit after reflecting over the August recess. 

“It was not an easy decision, but I believe it was the right one for my family and me,” Reichert said. “I have spent my entire career and devoted my life to service.”

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The Republican’s political career took off in 1997, when he was appointed to serve as King County sheriff. He won reelection in 2001, before running for Congress three years later.

In Congress, he cut a moderate swath that fit his largely centrist, affluent and well-educated district. He voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and supported repealing the Pentagon’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. He opposed the Affordable Care Act, but he also voted against the Republican repeal measure that passed the House earlier this year.

He sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, where he chairs the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. 

Reichert is the third Republican to hold the eighth district since it was created after the 1980 Census with the specific goal of electing a Republican. But as new technology firms, led by Microsoft, grew on the east side of Lake Washington, the district became one of the most competitive in the nation. Reichert won his first two elections, in 2004 and 2006, with less than 52 percent of the vote. 

A bipartisan redistricting commission moved more Republican voters into Reichert's district after the 2010 Census, shifting the seat south and east and taking in more rural parts of King and Pierce Counties and several small communities east of the Cascade mountains. 

Still, Democrats are certain to make the district a priority, given its recent voting history: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE won the district by 3-point margin over President Trump in 2016, and President Obama won 57 percent of the vote there in 2008.

Eight Democrats had already entered the race before Reichert announced his decision to quit. With an open seat, several state legislators and local elected officials are likely to consider their own bids.

A senior Republican strategist who had been aware of Reichert’s plans to retire said state Sen. Dino Rossi (R) was considering mounting a bid. Rossi, serving out an appointment to an open state Senate seat through November, narrowly lost two gubernatorial bids in 2004 and 2008.

Another GOP operative with ties to Washington State pointed to state Reps. Paul Graves (R), Drew Stokesbary (R) and Cary Condotta (R) as potential candidates. Reagan Dunn, a former King County council member and the son of the late Rep. Jennifer Dunn, is likely to mount a bid if Rossi declines to run.