Steve Hobbs plans run for Congress

LAKE STEVENS – State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, who’s crafted a reputation as a party moderate, announced Monday he is running for Congress in 2012.

Hobbs is a founder of the centrist coalition of Democrats known as the “Roadkill Caucus,” which teamed with Republicans in the Legislature on several government reform measures in the past two years.

Now in his second Senate term, Hobbs said his approach of working across the political divide is needed in Washington, D.C., where partisan sniping has reached epidemic proportions.

“Here in Washington (state) we did create a bipartisan coalition to pass a budget and make reforms in government. Why can’t we do the same in Congress?” he said. “I feel I have a chance to make a difference.”

The 41-year-old father of three is focused on the race to succeed Rep. Jay Inslee in the 1st Congressional District. Inslee is running for governor.

However, his plans could be altered by the work of the state’s redistricting commission. Hobbs lives in the 2nd Congressional District served by Rep. Rick Larsen and has no intention of taking on the incumbent.

However, Hobbs is confident that when the commission redraws boundaries this fall, his neighborhood will land in either Inslee’s district or one encompassing the state’s new 10th seat in Congress.

He is the fourth Democratic candidate to declare candidacy for Inslee’s seat.

Also in the race are state Rep. Roger Goodman and former state lawmaker Laura Ruderman — both of Kirkland — and Darshan Rauniyar of Bothell. Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, is expected to formally enter the competition any day now.

Republican James Watkins, also of Kirkland, who lost to Inslee in 2010, is the only GOP candidate to declare.

Hobbs knows he’s in for a tough fight — and not just with Republicans.

Last year, liberal Democratic groups and statewide unions as well as the Republican Party all tried to keep him from being re-elected in 2010.

“During my time in the state Senate, I learned that working across party lines doesn’t always make one the most popular person. I also learned that it’s the right thing to do for the people I serve,” he said in a prepared statement.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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