OLYMPIA -- State Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry said she has formed a committee to explore whether to run for the congressional seat opening up in Central Washington's 4th District.
Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, said she plans to visit "with key leaders throughout the district. . . to assess the viability of my candidacy."
U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings announced Thursday morning that he would not seek re-election to the seat he has held for 20 years. Holmquist Newbry said shortly afterwards she had not made a decision on whether to run "at this time."
Friday she said she has formed an exploratory committee with several key advisers, including Yakima Mayor Micah Cawley. Under federal election law, a person can receive and spend money before becoming an official candidate by forming an exploratory committee.
First elected to the House in 2000, Holmquist Newbry was elected to the Senate in 2006, where she now serves as the chairwoman of the Commerce and Labor Committee. She recently removed her name from the list of senators on the website for the Majority Coalition Caucus, telling the Seattle Times she was protesting decisions by some of the more moderate members of the caucus.
The 4th is a solidly Republican district that routinely gave Hastings at least 60 percent of the vote in his re-election campaigns. Also considering the race is rancher Clint Didier, an unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate and state lands commissioner, who may make an announcement on Monday.