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January 28, 2011 at 11:55 AM

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Reichert challenger lives in Inslee's district

Posted by Jim Brunner

UPDATED AT 2:50 p.m. with comments from Goodman.

Just a couple months after winning a fourth term, Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert already has drawn a challenger for 2012.

State Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, has filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for the 8th Congressional District seat. Goodman already has a website up with his announcement and some biographical info.

But this news may actually say more about Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee's plans.

Goodman actually lives in Inslee's district, not Reichert's.

It is legal to run for a congressional seat even if you live outside the district - the Constitution only requires candidates to live in the state. But it's not usually done, for obvious reasons.

With Inslee widely expected to run for governor in two years, Goodman may actually be staking out his turf as an early Democratic contender for what would then be an open 1st District seat.

In a phone interview Friday, Goodman acknowledged he'll take a good look at the 1st District if the seat opens up.

But Goodman said he also could wind up running in the 8th - or in the state's new 10th District, if it winds up in the Kirkland area.

"The political landscape is shifting so dramatically towards 2012, there is the possibility that I will run in one of the new districts if that happens to be in my backyard," Goodman said.

"At the moment, I am picking the most logical race to run in," he said, adding that he'd spoken with Inslee before filing.

Goodman has represented the 45th Legislative District since 2005. An attorney trained in environmental law, he headed the state's Sentencing Guidelines Commission in the 1990s and has worked on criminal justice issues including reform of drug laws.

This year, Goodman is one of the cosponsors of legislation to legalize the growing of marijuana for personal use. He has also led efforts to get tougher on repeat domestic-violence offenders.

Goodman said he'd been approached in the past to run against Reichert. He described the former sheriff as "an honorable fellow" but said the 8th District deserves better representation in Congress.

Goodman said three friends in the 8th District have even offered to let him live in their homes.

Reichert has always been regarded as vulnerable by Democrats, yet he's managed to win re-election every time. In November he beat former Microsoft executive Suzan DelBene, taking 52 percent of the vote.

With so much time between now and 2012, a lot can change for Goodman and other political hopefuls.

For starters, Reichert may decide not to run again.

And just as important, the boundaries of all of Washington's congressional districts will be redrawn as part of the once-a-decade redistricting process now underway.

All the existing districts will have to shrink somewhat to make room for the state's new 10th district, awarded as a result of the latest census.

The new political maps are supposed to be drawn by the end of the year. No doubt Goodman and other political hopefuls will be watching that process closely.

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

Keith Ervin
Covers the Eastside.

Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Kyung Song
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.

Lynn Thompson
Covers Seattle City Hall.

Bob Young
Covers King County and urban affairs.