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Originally published Friday, February 3, 2012 at 7:08 PM

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Reichert decides not to run for Senate

Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert won't challenge Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell.

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U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert won't challenge Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell this year, his office said Friday.

For months, Reichert, the Auburn Republican, had remained coy about his plans, leaving open the option of a Senate bid. But he has decided to remain in the redrawn 8th Congressional District, which has grown more safely Republican, thanks to redistricting, the source said.

"Congressman Dave Reichert confirms that, after careful consideration, he has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate," his spokeswoman, Natasha Mayer, said in a statement. "He is deeply committed to his constituents in Washington's 8th District and looks forward to continuing his service to them from the U.S. House of Representatives and his position on the Ways and Means Committee."

For now, the leading GOP challenger to Cantwell is first-term state Sen. Michael Baumgartner of Spokane, who has an intriguing résumé but lags badly in fundraising.

Port of Seattle Commissioner and trade consultant Bill Bryant is also said to be considering joining the race.

Cantwell, Washington's junior senator, is seeking re-election to a third term.

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