Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) announced on Wednesday that he’ll retire at the end of his term next year, creating a prime pick-up opportunity for Democrats in his Democratic-leaning district.
“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 Wednesday statement.
Reichert, a moderate seven-term congressman and popular former sheriff, had kept his suburban Seattle district in GOP hands for years in spite of some tough challenges early in his career. He did so partly by splitting with his party on some key issues — he was one of just eight Republicans to vote for cap-and-trade climate legislation in 2009. His district also became more rural and Republican after the last round of redistricting, but has trended back the other way with Seattle’s suburban growth.
With the popular incumbent gone the seat will be a tough hold for Republicans, especially in a year that looks promising for Democrats. Hillary Clinton won Reichert’s district with 48 percent to President Trump’s 45 percent last fall, and President Obama won it by a similar margin in 2012.
Reichert’s retirement makes him the second Republican in a Democratic-leaning seat to opt for the exits rather than a tough reelection battle next fall, following Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). It will be interesting whether more Republicans decide to retire rather than fight the headwinds of an unpopular president in a midterm in the coming months, as most congressional retirements tend to be announced during and after the winter holidays. Every Republican retirement in a swing district makes Democrats’ quest to retake the House that much easier.
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