As sources in the State Republican Party were reporting yesterday, Congressman Dave Reichert’s (R, WA-8) congressional office confirmed today that the former King County sheriff and four-term member of the U.S. House has decided not make a bid for the U.S. Senate.

The official verification of Reichert’s choice came from communications director Natasha Mayer who gave NW Daily Marker the following statement by email:

“Congressman Dave Reichert, after careful consideration, has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate. He is deeply committed to his constituents in Washington’s Eighth District and looks forward to continuing his service to them from the U.S. House of Representatives and his position on the Ways and Means committee. Looking ahead to the newly formed Eighth District, he plans on representing everyone equally and believes that, overall, there are more commonalities than differences and the priorities of all Washington citizens are the same: jobs and the economy.”

Reichert’s choice means that incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) still faces only two declared Republican challengers, Art Coday and State Sen. Michael Baumgartner.

Before this year’s race, Coday – a medical doctor – ran early in the 2010 U.S. Senate primary before withdrawing to mount an unsuccessful challenge against State Rep. Cindy Ryu (D) in the 32nd Legislative District (Edmonds). Baumgartner is a first-term state legislator, with a background in economic development and foreign service.

Both challenger’s campaigns face a well-funded Democratic second-term incumbent. According to reports to the Federal Election Commission, Cantwell boasts $3.1 million cash on hand. Coday’s war chest? $14,000. Baumgartner has yet to file reports that were due Jan. 31 for funds raised in 2011.

Inside chatter still buzzes about the possibility that Port of Seattle President Bill Bryant may enter the race, though it is uncertain if an entry this late would put Bryant far behind in terms of galvanizing statewide support for his campaign.


[photo credit: republicanconference]