U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, will not run for an eighth term in 2018.
The 67-year-old Congressman said in a news release Wednesday that he made the decision based on what he felt was best for his family.
“After spending time during the August work period with family and friends, reflecting on the past, discussing the future, and celebrating another birthday, I have decided this will be my last term and I will not run for reelection in November 2018,” Reichert said in a statement. “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.”
Reichert’s decision creates a political opportunity for Democrats who have been looking to flip his 8th Congressional District seat and regain control of the U.S. House. Democrats have recently been lining up to unseat Reichert, who represents a “swing district” that includes parts of eastern King and Pierce counties, spans the Cascade range and stretches to Kittitas and Chelan counties.
State Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, is among the candidates rumored to be considering the seat for the mid-term election. Stokesbary, a Duke University educated and Notre Dame Law School graduate, works outside of the Legislature as a lawyer.
Reichert has been the target of much criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. That pressure has only increased, most recently coming from his constituents and opponents who have attacked him for not holding public town hall meetings. In response, Reichert said such gatherings have “degenerated into shouting, yelling, and screaming matches.”
Opponents also urged Reichert to vote down the House GOP health care plan that passed in May. Reichert was one of 20 Republicans who broke party lines and voted against the bill.
For Reichert, the decision to retire comes after a long career of public service.
In addition to his seven terms in Congress, he was a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserves for six years and worked with the King County Sheriff’s Office for 33 years, becoming the sheriff himself in 1997. Reichert gained national prominence in that role when he helped bring Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, to justice. The resulting publicity served as a springboard to higher office for Reichert.
Reichert, in his release, touched on a number of achievement.
“In my congressional career, I have always strived to improve the daily lives of my constituents and preserve the majestic beauty of our region,” he said. “Whether it was through my work to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, improve our foster care system and combat sex trafficking, or secure equipment and resources for our first responders, I have taken this honor and responsibility seriously.”
“Early on, the importance of trade to the region was clear. From serving on President Obama’s Export Council to battling to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank to leading the fight to pass the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, I have always fought to give our exporters the chance to sell their goods and services around the world,” he said. “Now, at this critical time, serving as the first Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade from Washington State, I remain steadfast in my commitment to Washington’s workers, manufacturers and growers—the best in the world.
Reichert acknowledged that he has more work to do before he leaves office.
“As I finish my last term in the U.S. House of Representatives, I will continue to fight for hard working families, small business and all that makes our community great,” he said.
Calling Reichert a friend, King County Council member Reagan Dunn praised the Congressman for his work.
“He has done a terrific job and I am very proud of what he has accomplished for all of us,” Dunn said in a statement.
“Serving in Congress is very challenging and I watched my late mother, Jennifer Dunn, fight many battles there, as Dave has,” Dunn added. “But the environment in Congress has become increasingly challenging for our elected leaders. I commend my friend for working on our behalf during this unusually toxic time in Washington, D.C.”