Bainbridge councilman decides against primary challenge to Rep. Kilmer

Bainbridge Island City Councilman Matthew Tirman announced Thursday he won’t challenge Congressman Derek Kilmer for the 6th District position in the House of Representatives.

Tirman launched an exploratory committee into the idea earlier this year, and said this week the feedback has been positive and supportive.

Even so, in a message to friends and supporters Thursday, Tirman said he wouldn’t challenge Kilmer during next year’s Primary Election.

Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat, was elected to Congress in November 2012 and has been reelected three times.

Tirman, in his announcement, said “the time is right for a change in representation in the Washington 6th” but added that the challenges were too great for him to be successful in a primary against Kilmer.

“In listening parties and events around the district, I heard the deep concern we collectively share for our communities: the climate crisis and the impact on our environment and way of life, the lack of affordable housing and stagnant wages, and the desperate need for deep structural changes in our economy,” Tirman continued.

“I share these concerns with you; and because that is so, I believe that running for this congressional seat over the next twelve months is not the best use of my efforts, that of my team, your valuable volunteer time, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars that would need to be raised to mount a legitimate challenge against an incumbent. This is not an easy decision or one that I take lightly. I fundamentally believe that our district is not liberal, nor conservative, but rather comprised of individuals that want living wage jobs, to visit a doctor without risking bankruptcy, to send their kids to safe schools, and to have secure and affordable housing.”

“My aim has always been to serve, to lift up those who need to be heard, and to fight for the best possible outcome for all those in our district, and although I am not 100 percent certain of my next step, I know that this focus has not, nor will it ever waver,” he added.

“I will continue to serve as a councilmember and deputy mayor of Bainbridge Island, and we will continue to explore other pathways to service. I have not ruled out running for other offices — in the near or distant future — and I will continue to listen to the people of the 6th District and beyond. I want to learn, serve and to help. It’s that simple. This is the way I define my life and the way in which I want to be of value to members of our community,” Tirman said.

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