Politics & Government

Reichert says he’ll consider run for governor or Senate

Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert says he’ll consider a 2016 challenge to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, or maybe even a U.S. Senate bid.

In an interview Wednesday, Reichert gently fanned the rumors about his future political plans, saying “I have to keep my options open – that’s something I’ve done for my entire career.”

A big caveat here: Reichert, R-Auburn, has flirted with a statewide run before (and even said variations of the “keeping my options open” line) but has never made the leap. In 2012 he kept speculation alive that he’d challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, but instead opted to seek re-election in the 8th Congressional District, made safer for him in redistricting.

Still, rumors about a possible Reichert candidacy have taken on new life in recent months in Republican and Democratic political circles. Also worth noting, Reichert’s campaign has purchased and held onto the Internet domain names Reichertforgovernor.com and ReichertforSenate.com just in case. A domain name search shows those URLs have been owned by Reichert since at least 2011. His aides said the campaign may have locked them up even before that – just as a precaution to keep opponents from snatching them up.

Reichert said he’s in no hurry to make up his mind. “I want to stay busy. I want to continue to serve,” he said. “I will consider a run for the governor’s office. I will consider a possible Senate run, or other possible opportunities.”

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray also is up for re-election in 2016, and has already declared she will seek a fifth term that year.

Reichert is favored to easily win re-election to a sixth term over Democrat Jason Ritchie in the Nov. 4 election.

One argument against leaving his current job, Reichert noted, is that he could rise again in House seniority, perhaps becoming chairman of the trade subcommittee of the House Ways and Means panel. “That would be hugely important to the state,” he said.

Other Republicans who have been named as possible gubernatorial contenders in 2016 include Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant, and state Sen. Andy Hill of Redmond. But none is as well known as Reichert, the former King County sheriff first elected to Congress in 2004.