A pair of state senators announced last week that they would not seek the 7th Congressional District opening created by the impending retirement of longtime incumbent Jim McDermott.

Democrats Reuven Carlyle (36th District) and David Frockt (46th District) had both been the subject of rumors regarding their interest in the vacancy created by McDermott’s departure.

But for both, family life was cited as a main concern of what would take the biggest hit with a new political role across the country.


Fly-in fathers?

On Thursday, Jan. 7, Carlyle posted on his legislative blog that he had reflected deeply on the prospect of running for Congress, but “in today’s world, if you want to be at the center of the real action on public issues, lead at the state level.”

In an interview with the Queen Anne & Magnolia News, Carlyle said while he had thought about the prospect of running for Congress for some time, ultimately, the realities of the position didn’t align with what he wanted for both himself and his family.

“We live 3,000 miles away from the office, and if you live in Maryland or Delaware or somewhere close to D.C., it’s a whole different value proposition and gig than if you get on an airplane every Monday morning and get off an airplane every Thursday night,” he said. “I made a choice to try to be present emotionally, physically and spiritually with my family and my community, and unfortunately, it just didn’t jive with serving in Congress.”

Carlyle said by working at the state level, you get the opportunity to work at a scale and scope that “touches real people living real lives.

“The work we do at the state level of funding education, funding colleges and universities, building a transportation system, managing our ferries, managing our environment around water quality and so many other issues, are very real issues,” Carlyle said, “and you can get your hands deep into policy work that affects your neighbor down the street and your quality of life.”

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Frockt revealed that he, too, would not mount a bid, despite saying, “Even with all the current dysfunction, the prospect of serving in Congress has never seemed like a chore.

“When I looked deep over the last week — and I mean deep — the prospect of becoming a jet-in father to my 12-year-old twins was not something that I could ever fully comes to terms with, no matter how many rationalizations or scenarios I could come up with,” he wrote. “Ultimately, these years don’t come back.”


Official candidates

As of Monday, Jan. 11, 43rd District Rep. Brady Walkinshaw and Edmonds businessman and Greenwood resident Jeff Stilwell were the only people to officially declare their candidacies, while Metropolitan King County Councilmember Joe McDermott (no relation) had said he was weighing a bid.

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