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.