Politics & Government

Ex-sports anchor Tony Ventrella drops out of congressional race

Congressional candidate Tony Ventrella, left, poses for a photo last month with a life-size photo of John F. Kennedy as his own life-size image is displayed at right, at the state Democratic Convention in Tacoma. He has now left the race.
Congressional candidate Tony Ventrella, left, poses for a photo last month with a life-size photo of John F. Kennedy as his own life-size image is displayed at right, at the state Democratic Convention in Tacoma. He has now left the race. The Associated Press

Former sportscaster Tony Ventrella announced Friday he will end his bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington’s 8th Congressional District.

His withdrawal from the race comes too late, however, to remove his name from the August primary ballot — and possibly the general election lineup as well.

The Democrat was challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, a Republican who was first elected in 2004. Ventrella was a longtime sports anchor for KING-TV in Seattle and also spent time at other radio and television stations in the city.

Most recently he produced digital news for the Seattle Seahawks.

Ventrella heavily critiqued the amount of money spent on political campaigns, and made getting money out of politics the center of his platform. He said Friday he didn’t accept money from special interest groups or political action committees, and he wouldn’t spend time on the phone asking for money.

Instead he reached out for small individual contributions, he said.

The idea eventually became a problem, as Ventrella said he didn’t have enough money to keep the campaign viable.

“It was kind of a pie-in-the-sky approach to politics, which, frankly in today’s world, does not work,” Ventrella said in a phone interview. “But, I thought I’d give it a shot and make a statement.”

It was kind of a pie in the sky approach to politics, which frankly in today’s world does not work

Tony Ventrella, former Congressional candidate

Reichert had raised about $740,000 by March 31 according to the latest reporting in the Federal Election Commission. No funds appear for Ventrella on the commission’s website, but he estimated the campaign had raised around $20,000.

Four other candidates filed for the race, including Democrats Santiago Ramos and Alida Skold. But Ventrella, whose name will be on the Aug. 2 primary ballot, could still reach the Nov. 8 general election if he comes in at least second in the primary. Ventrella said he is urging people not to vote for him, but he hasn’t endorsed anyone in the race. He added he would not reopen his campaign if he appears on general election ballots.

Reichert defeated Democrat Jason Ritchie in the 2014 election by more than 26 percentage points.

The 8th Congressional District encompasses the counties of Chelan and Kittitas and parts of King, Pierce and Douglas counties.

Walker Orenstein, 360-786-1826

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