SEATTLE - Update Tuesday, August 9: Tony Ventrella will officially relaunch his campaign, after all, to challenge Congressman Dave Reichert in Washington's 8th congressional district.
The former sportscaster dropped out of the race in late June, but he still made it through the August Primary, beating two other Democratic candidates to claim the second spot.
"I'm grateful for the support I received in the primary last week," said Ventrella in a statement Tuesday night. "After giving this opportunity much thought, I'm excited to say I'm going to run a strong, positive and energetic campaign for congress."
Last week, Ventrella had told KING 5 he wouldn't accept donations but urged would-be donors to give to a non-profit of their choice, instead.
“That way we’re doing good all around,” he said. “We’re still running a campaign, not as aggressively as we would have, but I’ll serve if I win.”
Now, Ventrella says he's committed to running an actual campaign in the months ahead and says he will take campaign donations.
"Public service is a privilege, and I do not take it lightly," said Ventrella in a new statement to KING 5. "I'll spend the next 80 plus days listening to the people of the 8th congressional district and preparing to serve all of them."
Reichert, who is running for a seventh-term, had a comfortable primary victory, taking more than 57 percent of the vote.
His district includes east King County, as well as parts of Pierce and Chelan Counties.
"This is a job that you have to be serious about holding," Congressman Reichert told KING 5. "It’s a 24/7 job."
"There’s no one day I’m here, the next day I’m not. Next day I want it, next day I don’t," Reichert continued. "I know I want to be here, and I know I want to do this job."
Reichert won his last re-election with more than 60% of the vote in 2014 against then Democratic challenger Jason Ritchie.
This year, he faced three Democratic challengers. Ventrella first entered the race in April, citing campaign finance reform as his top issue. However, he decided to end his campaign in late June, in part due to lack of funding.
The former TV personality had warned voters not to vote for him, but the message didn’t get across.
“I was stunned, because I got the word out there that I wasn’t running, but frankly I feel a duty to serve,” Ventrella told KING 5 the day after primary night.
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