State Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, announced Thursday that he plans to run for Pierce County executive next year and won’t seek re-election to the Senate.
Dammeier will face a sitting Pierce County Council member in the race for the top county job. County Councilman Rick Talbert, a Democrat from Tacoma, has already raised $18,000 toward his 2016 county executive campaign, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Due to term limits, current Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy can’t run again for the position next November.
Dammeier, a former naval officer, has been a leader in the Republican Senate majority, especially on thorny issues surrounding education policy and how to respond to a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling that Legislature is failing to fully fund public education.
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The first-term senator previously served two terms in the state House, as well as eight years on the Puyallup school board.
Talbert is a former Tacoma City Council member who was elected to the Pierce County Council in November 2010.
Dammeier said he plans to finish his term in the Senate, which expires at the end of 2016. But his run for county executive will leave his Senate seat open in the November 2016 election.
Rep. Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, announced Thursday that he will seek Dammeier’s Senate seat next year.
Both lawmakers represent Pierce County’s 25th Legislative District, which includes Puyallup, South Hill, Midland, Fife and part of Parkland.
Prior to announcing his run for county executive, Dammeier had already raised more than $52,000 in campaign contributions to keep his Senate seat.
Lori Anderson, a spokeswoman for the state Public Disclosure Commission, said Dammeier would have to seek written permission from donors to use those contributions to fund his new campaign.