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February 17, 2008 11:14 AM

Former SnoCo sheriff may challenge Larsen in 2nd District

Posted by David Postman

MOUNT VERNON -- Former Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart is close to announcing he’ll run for Congress against Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens.

Bart appeared last night at the Skagit Valley Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner. He said in his brief remarks:

There needs to be a new sheriff in Congress, and it’s going to be me.

Bart told me he hasn’t made his final decision, but said, “We’ll give it a shot, more than likely.” He’s been talking to people in the 2nd Congressional District and checking to see what the money situation is. Raising campaign funds, he said, looks to be “very, very, very tough.”

He also says Larsen is a friend. Larsen was on the Snohomish County Council while Bart served as sheriff.

Bart told Skagit Republicans he was the first GOP sheriff in Snohomish County in at least 40 years. Among those urging him to run, he said, was Congressman Dave Reichert, R-Auburn. Reichert is the former King County sheriff and the two served together on the task force that investigated the Green River serial killings.

He said that Reichert calls him once a week.

He’s begging me to run and I keep asking him why and he says he’s lonely.
Bart was sheriff from 1995 until he was term-limited last year from running again. He had planned to run against Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, but dropped out citing family and personal reasons. Last year he was also a finalist for U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Washington.

Bart didn’t talk much about Larsen last night. But he told the crowd here:

The issue is change. I don’t know if you’re hearing that from a lot of politicians, but I’m sure hearing it.

State Republican Chairman Luke Esser said it’d be tough for anyone to take on an incumbent member of Congress. But he thinks that Bart’s right to talk about change, which has emerged as the primary theme of the presidential campaign. Esser told me:

All we hear is change, change, change. That’s a real interesting dynamic. In the state of Washington, change is a good message for Republicans, and for different reasons than Barack Obama says.

In other Congressional news, Reichert will get some big-name help to start his re-election fundraising. First Lady Laura Bush will headline an event Feb. 27th for Reichert in Medina.

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