Issaquah Councilmember Tola Marts to challenge Dave Reichert in 8th District

Issaquah City Councilmember Tola Marts will challenge seven-term Republican Rep. Dave Reichert in the 2018 midterm elections.

Issaquah City Councilmember Tola Marts, who has built rockets and worked on public health in Africa, will challenge seven-term Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert in next year’s midterm elections.

Marts, a 48-year-old Democrat, announced his campaign for the 8th Congressional District seat Tuesday, saying his first priority if elected would be legislation to provide two years of community college free for Americans.

In an interview, Marts, who has served on the Issaquah City Council since 2010, said he was not recruited by national Democratic leaders but had been considering a challenge to Reichert for some time.

“I want to make sure he has to take this race seriously and comes out to talk about his record,” he said.

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Marts criticized Reichert for initially supporting the GOP’s controversial Obamacare replacement — voting for it in committee — before ultimately voting against the bill when it came to the House floor with enough votes to pass.

“He really did the minimum he could to oppose that bill,” Marts said.

Reichert, the former King County sheriff, has represented the 8th District in Congress since 2005. He plans to seek an eighth term next year, according to a campaign spokesman.

“The congressman has dedicated his entire adult life to serving Washington and welcomes anyone who hopes to do the same to run for office,” said the spokesman, Chad Ramey, in an email.

For years, the district has been a tantalizing target for Democrats, as it consistently favors Democratic candidates for president, including Hillary Clinton in 2016. But Reichert has always hung on.

In recent cycles, Democrats have failed to field top challengers. In 2016, former TV sportscaster Tony Ventrella ran a fumbling, halfhearted campaign in which he declined…

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