SEATTLE – Former Seattle sportscaster Tony Ventrella announced the end of his campaign for Congress on his Facebook page Friday.
"After much discussion with my family I’ve decided to end my run for Congress in the 8th CD for personal reasons," he wrote.
Ventrella, who considers himself a moderate Democrat, made campaign finance reform his number one issue while running against six-term U.S. House Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash.
While Ventrella had name ID, after a long television career in the market, he didn't have the campaign cash to keep his campaign going.
"It was kinda of a Pollyannaish thought that you could go into a campaign, especially a federal campaign thinking you could get small contributions, or even large contributions from individuals, but sort of shunning the PAC money, special interest money," Ventrella told KING on Friday. "But that was my point of view. I didn’t want to be beholden to anyone, but the individuals who would be involved in the campaign. I miscalculated."
Ventrella estimates he had raised about $20,000 since announcing his bid. By contrast, Rep. Reichert had raised nearly $750,000 by last FEC filing deadline, a figure that doesn't even take into account the past couple of months.
According to the FEC website, a little more than half of the money raised come from Political Action Committees, not uncommon for incumbents across both parties.
"It's eye-opening," Ventrellla remarked. "Money gets you elected and it gets you re-elected."
Ventrella said he will still raise money about campaign finance reform, but not as a candidate. His name will still appear on the August primary ballot, since it's too late to be removed.
"For first time in history of politics, I’m urging people to not to vote for me!" he laughed. "That will completely confuse everything.
Ventrella worked at several Seattle TV stations including KING 5. He recently left his job as a digital reporter for the Seattle Seahawks.
Congressman Reichert still faces two other Democratic challengers, including Santiago Ramos and Alida Skold.
"I congratulate Tony Ventrella on running an honorable, issue-based campaign and understand his decision to withdraw from the race," Skold wrote on her website.