Hargrove has served in the Legislature since 1985, the longest of all but one current senator. He will run for election to a sixth Senate term instead of seeking to go to Congress.
He told me:
I took a little over a week and a half talking to colleagues, family, close friends, and basically the almost universal consensus was, I have a pretty big impact in the Senate. I get a lot done for people. Why would I want to go to a place where I’m one of 435, a freshman?
“The lifestyle change might have killed me, too, going back and forth,” Hargrove added.
Democratic Sen. Derek Kilmer and Republicans Jesse Young and Doug Cloud are running for the seat opened by Norm Dicks’s retirement.
Hargrove is a budget writer but is also a swing vote — and he said he’s not ready to vote for a state budget until key bills pass. Notably, he supports a cost-cutting probation measure and a proposal for streamlining and loosening environmental regulations that also raises new revenue through permit fees.
It’s another sign that Democrats are far from having the 25 votes they need in the Senate to pass the budget they pushed through the House on the last day of the regular session.
“I had no problem with the substance of it,” Hargrove said of the plan. “There are some bills that had to pass first, though.”