WASHINGTON -- Republican Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington state said Wednesday he is retiring from Congress after seven terms.
Reichert, 67, a former King County, Wash., sheriff who captured the "Green River Killer" in 2001, has represented a suburban district east of Seattle since 2005.
In a statement Wednesday, Reichert said his decision not to seek re-election was difficult, but added: "I believe it was the right one for my family and me. I have spent my entire career and devoted my life to service. I see this not just as a job, but as a calling -- a calling I will not walk away from."
Reichert said he was especially proud of his work to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, improve the foster care system, combat sex trafficking and secure equipment and resources for first responders.
Democrats had targeted Reichert, with a host of would-be challengers lining up to seek the party's support in a district that Hillary Clinton won by 3 percentage points last year. Clinton received strong support in heavily populated King County, while President Donald Trump won support in the district's portion of four other counties: Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas and Pierce.
Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, called Reichert "a valued voice whose unique perspective serving as King County Sheriff before coming to Congress will be missed."
Still, Stivers said he was confident that the seat would remain in GOP hands, especially with "a bitter and expensive primary fight already confronting Democrats" in the district.
Reichert easily won a seventh term last year, beating former sportscaster Tony Ventrella.
Even so, Democrats have targeted the district in 2018, citing voter concerns about health care and immigration and record disapproval ratings for Trump.
"Clearly, Congressman Reichert saw the writing on the wall, and realized that he was in for an uphill re-election campaign against a strong bench of Democratic challengers with a motivated base, while defending congressional Republicans' failed legislative agenda, particularly on health-care repeal," said Drew Godinich, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.