State Sen. Andy Hill, a Republican from Redmond who has long been discussed as a potential challenger to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, said Friday that he won’t run for governor in 2016.
That leaves Inslee with only one serious challenger as of now: Republican Bill Bryant, a Port of Seattle commissioner who announced his candidacy in May.
In an email to his supporters Friday, Hill said he wouldn’t seek election as governor because “it would not be best for the Hill family at this time.”
“....the fact remains that I have two kids in high school this year – a senior considering colleges and a freshman new to the high school experience. I want to be there for them,” Hill’s email said.
By phone, Hill, 53, wouldn’t elaborate, saying that his email was “pretty self-explanatory.”
Hill, who as chairman of the Senate Ways and Means committee is the Senate’s top budget writer, was first elected to the Senate in 2010 and re-elected last year. He is a former Microsoft program manager who survived a battle with cancer prior to joining the Legislature.
In a statement, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party called Hill’s decision not to run a “recruiting failure” and “a huge blow to Republicans.”
Another rumored potential candidate, state Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, also said this week that he won’t seek to challenge Inslee in 2016.
So far, Inslee has a financial edge in the 2016 race.
According to the state Public Disclosure Commission, Bryant has raised about $529,000 for the 2016 campaign, while Inslee has raised $2.3 million. Inslee has also spent $1.2 million to Bryant’s $180,000.