Sen. Reuven Carlyle, chair of the Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee, announced Monday that he won’t seek reelection later this year.
The Seattle Democrat is coming off a historic win after last year’s passage of the Climate Commitment Act, the state’s new cap and trade system for large emitters of greenhouse gases.
56-year-old Carlyle, whose progressive politics had always been influenced by private-sector capitalism was one of the white male legislators in the overwhelmingly Democratic Seattle-area areas who may have faced a challenger this year. His 36th District includes Seattle’s Magnolia and Ballard neighborhoods.
This prospect was identified by Jim Brunner of The Seattle Times during the 2020 campaign. ScoopAbout a plan to target moderate Democrats on the left. This story was told in the context of the outrageously expensive Democrat/Democrat challenge to Sen. Mark Mullet, a business-friendly senator from Issaquah. He lost in the significantly less progressive 5th District of East King County.
As likely targets, the piece named Carlyle, Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) and Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle). Gov. Jay Inslee removed Hobbs quickly from the equation You can stash him in the Secretary of State’s office. Pedersen will also be up for reelection in this year’s election.
However, given that 2021 was something of a banner year for progressives, with big wins on climate, taxation, child care, and other priorities, all of which Carlyle supported, it’s not clear a challenger would have had much to run on. However, rumors of a challenge remained this year, and there was some subdued cheering by progressive Twitter on Monday.
Carlyle’s departure raises the prospect that he might be succeeded by one of his House seatmates: Rep. Noel Frame, chair of House Finance, and first-term Rep. Liz Berry. Frame in particular is beloved by the left for her advocacy for revamping Washington’s tax structure, which falls heavily on the poor and lightly on the wealthy.
Carlyle is now the third member of Democratic caucus that has announced his resignation. Sen. David Frockt, who represents the Seattle district immediately north of Carlyle’s, is also not seeking reelection. Sen. Jeannie Darnielle of Tacoma, D-Tacoma resigned last summer to take up a position with the Department of Corrections.
Carlyle was the first person elected to the House of Representatives, succeeding Rep. Helen Sommers. In 2015, he succeeded Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles to the Senate.
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