Kate Dean.

Kate Dean.

Kate Dean drops out of race for Congress

Fundraising a challenge for Jefferson commissioner

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean has dropped out of the race for Washington’s 6th Congressional District, citing fundraising as a significant barrier.

In an email, Dean said she did not feel good about the endless cycle of fundraising necessary to win a congressional campaign.

“My main take-away from the experience is that is it extremely challenging to run for Congress unless you have a lot of money or have friends with a lot of money,” Dean said.

“I was holding out hope that a middle-class person from rural WA could serve in Congress, but unless there are extraordinary circumstances (such as Rep. Glusenkamp-Perez’s race in 2022), that is extremely unlikely.”

U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez, D-Stevenson, won an unlikely victory in 2022 over an incumbent Republican.

Dean said she was glad to have joined the race even for a short time, and that she learned a great deal from the experience.

“Mostly I learned that I really like local government and being a county commissioner,” Dean said.

Dean is the first to drop out of the race, which started in early November when U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, announced he would not seek re-election in 2024 and was endorsing state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, a fellow Democrat, for the seat. Franz was running for governor but dropped out of that race to run for the 6th Congressional District.

The 6th Congressional District covers all of the Olympic Peninsula and part of Tacoma.

Kilmer has served in the seat since 2012 and the district has been held by a Democrat since 1965.

Also running for the seat are state Sens. Drew MacEwen, R-Shelton, and Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, who announced their candidacies in November.

None of the candidates have any reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission yet, but Franz’s campaign announced last month it had raised more than $100,000 in the first week.

Washington state will have an open primary election in August. The top two vote-getters will move on to the general election, regardless of party.

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Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsuladailynews.com.

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