U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert won't run for re-election

Dave Reichert (KOMO file photo)

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash, announced Wednesday that he will not run for reelection.

Reichert, who used his fame as the King County sheriff who helped bring the Green River Killer to justice as a springboard for higher office, said he made the decision in August.

"I have decided this will be my last term and I will not run for reelection in November 2018. It was not an easy decision, but I believe it was the right one for my family and me. I have spent my entire career and devoted my life to service. I see this not just as a job, but as a calling - a calling I will not walk away from."

He is in his seventh term in Congress in Washington's Eight District. He became King County's first elected sheriff in 30 years 1997.

The district includes parts of eastern King and Pierce counties and crosses the Cascade range to include Kittitas and Chelan counties.

Reichert,67, has drawn the ire of Democrats upset with the policies of Republicans and President Trump. At least three Democrats had already lined up to challenge him in 2018.

But Reichert has also stepped away from his party to criticize Trump. He took to his Facebook in August page to announce his displeasure with the president's pardon of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

On Tuesday, he said he supported protecting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after the president said he planned to phase it out.

Reichert put his decision in terms of what was best for his family.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of the greatest state in the world’s greatest nation for nearly five decades. First as a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves for six years, then in the King County Sheriff’s Office for 33 years, and most recently as a seven term member of Congress. I am humbled to have been trusted by the people of Washington’s 8th District to be their voice in Congress; it is an honor I have not taken lightly. Each and every day, I have committed to serving the 8th District and our nation with the heart of a servant," he said in a statement.

"This decision has been difficult to say the least but the love for my family ultimately guided me. I look forward to spending time with my wife, Julie, our three grown children and six grandchildren. They have made great sacrifices and I owe them not only my gratitude but more time together."

Democrats had targeted Reichert, with a host of would-be challengers lining up to seek the party's support in a district that Hillary Clinton won by 3 percentage points last year. Clinton received strong support in heavily populated King County, while President Donald Trump won support in the district's portion of four other counties: Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas and Pierce.

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, called Reichert "a valued voice whose unique perspective serving as King County Sheriff before coming to Congress will be missed."

Still, Stivers said he was confident that the seat would remain in GOP hands, especially with "a bitter and expensive primary fight already confronting Democrats" in the district.

Reichert easily won a seventh term last year, beating former sportscaster Tony Ventrella.

Even so, Democrats have targeted the district in 2018, citing voter concerns about health care and immigration and record disapproval ratings for Trump.

"Clearly, Congressman Reichert saw the writing on the wall, and realized that he was in for an uphill re-election campaign against a strong bench of Democratic challengers with a motivated base, while defending congressional Republicans' failed legislative agenda, particularly on health-care repeal," said Drew Godinich, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

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