Rep. Mike Pence, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Rep. Dave Reichert
Rep. Mike Pence, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Rep. Dave Reichert

Today in anti­cli­mac­tic announce­ments, Dave Reichert declared that he he will be seek­ing reelec­tion to Con­gress in 2016, and not run­ning for governor.

Like so many of you, I have been extreme­ly dis­ap­point­ed in the deci­sions com­ing out of the Governor’s Office — regard­ing our schools, the health of our chil­dren, and most recent­ly a deci­sion to give the Green Riv­er ser­i­al killer a chance to enjoy life in a nicer prison. We deserve better.

Yet, I believe I can bet­ter serve you now, today, 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 is crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant at a time when we con­front an uncer­tain future, where chal­lenges mul­ti­ply by the day, but the resolve to address them seems missing.

Take a moment to appre­ci­ate the irony of this statement.

Dave Reichert is a ten-year incum­bent who belongs to one of the most inef­fec­tive, use­less Repub­li­can-dom­i­nat­ed Con­gress­es in his­to­ry. His own cau­cus can’t even decide who to pick as the next Speak­er of the House. And yet here he is, talk­ing about how lead­er­ship has been in retreat and courage has been on recess.

But Reichert has decid­ed he would rather return to the zoo that is the Repub­li­can-con­trolled U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, rather than face Jay Inslee in 2016. That says a lot about the Repub­li­can Par­ty here in Wash­ing­ton State.

Every sup­posed guber­na­to­r­i­al hope­ful who Repub­li­cans have talked about has opt­ed not to run. Steve Lit­zow and Andy Hill took them­selves out of the pic­ture last month. And now, after hint­ing repeat­ed­ly that he was think­ing about run­ning, Reichert has decid­ed against a guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign as well.

Hilar­i­ous­ly, though, he told KIRO 7 today, “I would love to be Gov­er­nor one day. I would love to be Sen­a­tor one day.”

Sure. In your dreams, Dave! It will be inter­est­ing to see how Repub­li­can oper­a­tives like Kei­th Schip­per spin this lat­est recruit­ing failure.

With Reichert, Hill, and Lit­zow out, they’re left with Port Com­mis­sion­er Bill Bryant, Inslee’s only declared Repub­li­can challenger.

Bryant — who was endorsed last month by for­mer Gov­er­nor Dan Evans and for­mer Sen­a­tor Slade Gor­ton — put out a state­ment wel­com­ing the news.

“Today, Con­gress­man Dave Reichert announced his deci­sion to con­tin­ue serv­ing in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives,” Bryant said.

“I am sure you join me in thank­ing Dave for his com­mit­ment to pub­lic ser­vice. I look for­ward to work­ing along­side him on issues con­fronting our state.

“My cam­paign for gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State now moves into a new phase; a phase focused on the chal­lenges con­fronting our kids, teach­ers & class­rooms, on the chal­lenges con­fronting com­mu­ni­ties across Wash­ing­ton that need fam­i­ly wage jobs, and on the chal­lenges fac­ing the Puget Sound and the salmon runs that are part of our his­to­ry, cul­ture and economy.”

Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Jax­on Ravens had a very dif­fer­ent take.

“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,” said Ravens.

“Now the Repub­li­cans are left with lit­tle-known Bill Bryant, after every oth­er Repub­li­can approached to run turned down the offer.”

“Bryant has run a list­less cam­paign that has gained no trac­tion and has burned through mon­ey. This lat­est recruit­ing fail­ure must have heads hung pret­ty low at Repub­li­can head­quar­ters right now.”

Ravens not­ed that the Repub­li­can Gov­er­nors Asso­ci­a­tion had tried to entice Reichert into the race last month, to no avail.

Polling from ear­li­er this year showed Inslee with a com­fort­able lead over both Reichert and Bryant, as well as Hill. Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling found that Reichert did not fare any bet­ter than Bryant in a hypo­thet­i­cal 2016 matchup. That may have con­tributed to Reichert’s deci­sion not to run.

While Reichert may have a desire to be gov­er­nor, he knows build­ing a cred­i­ble statewide cam­paign would take a lot of hard work… and hard work isn’t Reichert’s strong suit. It’s under­stand­able that he would rather keep hold of his cur­rent posi­tion instead of run­ning a los­ing cam­paign for gov­er­nor. So he’s defer­ring to Bryant, who must still con­vince his own par­ty that he is wor­thy of being their stan­dard bear­er, despite hav­ing been in the race for months.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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One reply on “Dave Reichert takes a pass on challenging Jay Inslee for governor in 2016”

  1. It sounds to me like Reichert is a crea­ture of com­fort who decid­ed to keep what appears to be a safe seat, albeit, seem­ing­ly ger­ry­man­dered, rather than pick what’s behind “door num­ber 3”

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