OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert announced Friday that he will not run for governor next year, saying that he can better serve the state by remaining in Congress.
In a written statement, the Auburn Republican said that he was disappointed with the current administration of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, but said his efforts were better spent in his role representing the 8th Congressional District, "in another Washington where politicians are more interested in fighting each other than fighting for America; where leadership has been in retreat, and courage has been on recess."
"This nation, more than ever, needs leaders with the strength to stand up when others won't; to speak up when others fall silent; to admit when they're wrong then set out to make it right; to envision what we can and should be, then have the perseverance and courage to make it happen," he wrote.
Reichert, who is serving his sixth term and will seek re-election next year, was elected to Congress in 2004. He noted the committees he serves on in the House, including the Ways and Means Committee and the subcommittees dealing with taxes and trade.
"I am in a unique position to work with both Democrats and Republicans on some of the most important issues facing this nation and Washington State, including tax reform and free trade," he wrote.
Republican Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant announced earlier this year his entry into the race against Inslee, who is seeking his second term. Bryant was recently endorsed by two prominent Republicans, former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton and former Gov. Dan Evans.
State Democrats quickly sent out a statement calling Reichert's decision Republicans' "latest recruiting failure" following the decisions of Republican state Sens. Andy Hill and Steve Litzow to also not jump into the gubernatorial race.
"Dave Reichert understood he was going to face an uphill climb having to defend his record to Washington voters - a decade of fealty to Republican leadership in D.C. taking vote after vote against Washington state values," wrote state Democratic Party chairman Jaxon Ravens.
State Republicans sent out their own statement praising both Bryant and Reichert.
"Congressman Reichert has an exemplary record of public service, and the people of his district, Washington State, and the country will be well served by him focusing on his current role," wrote Republican chairwoman Susan Hutchison.