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Brian Baird Not Running for Re-Election

By Josh Feit December 9, 2009

Vancouver-area U.S. Rep. Brian Baird (D-3, WA), first elected in 1996, announced today that he's not seeking re-election.

The Tacoma News Tribune has the scoop.

State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz was caught off guard by the news when we reached him just getting off a plane in Florida. "I'm very surprised," Pelz says. "I don't agree with everything he's done, but he's a very intelligent and hard working member of Congress, and he would have been easily reelected."

Rep. Baird did upset Democrats by voting against the health care reform bill. He also upset his base when he switched his position on Iraq and—after voting against the war and the surge—he got hawkish, coming out against troop withdrawal. I filed several articles about that, including a report from an angry town hall in Vancouver where anti-war protesters showed up in force.

Pelz says there are "a ton of talented legislators in the 3rd congressional district, and we'll have a spirited primary."

State Sens. Craig Pridemore and Karen Fraser and Reps. Brendan Williams, Eric Hunt,  Tim Probst, Deb Wallace, Jim Jacks, and Jim Moeller are the Democrats in the 3rd Congressional District.

Republicans in the district who may see an opening now are State Sens. Jim Honeyford, Don Benton, and Joe Zarelli and Reps. Bruce Chandler, David Taylor, Jaime Herrara, and Ed Orcutt.

Here's Rep. Baird's statement:
Serving our country and representing the people of Southwest Washington in Congress has been the highest honor and greatest responsibility of my life. Since the time I first announced I would seek election in November of 1995, I have done my utmost to work hard, tell the truth, listen, and do what was right for our nation.

I am proud of the record of achievements for our district and I am incredibly grateful to the voters who have entrusted me with this responsibility. I am also appreciative to my staff, all of the friends, supporters and volunteers who have helped along the way.

The time has now come to pursue other options, other ways of serving. Hence, I am announcing today that I do not intend to seek reelection to Congress in 2010. This is not an easy decision to be sure, but I believe it is the right decision at the right time.

I look forward to serving the remainder of this Congress with the same level of commitment I have always given the people of this district. There is much yet to be done for our region and our nation and I fully intend to be part of that work during the remainder of my term in office and in new ways when that term has ended.

Again, I want to thank my family, friends, supporters, staff and most importantly the people of Southwest Washington.

UPDATE: The PI.com reports that Republican state Rep. Jaime Herrera (R-18) has already thrown her hat in the ring.
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