OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington state Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom told his caucus Monday that he was dropping his re-election bid.
Tom, a Democrat from Medina, leads the predominantly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus. In an email to colleagues, Tom cited health issues tied to kidney stones he suffered during the end of the legislative session as part of his decision to not run again. He also noted that he wants to help care for his 85-year-old father, who was recently injured when he was hit by a car.
"I have always said that health and family are my number one values, and instead of that being merely a campaign slogan, I really do try to live by them," Tom wrote.
Tom said that it was "an incredible honor" to serve in the Legislature for the past 12 years. Tom, along with fellow Democrat Tim Sheldon of Potlach, helped Republicans take control of the Senate after the formation of the new coalition at the end of 2012. The coalition currently holds a 26-23 majority in the Senate.
About half of the Senate is up for re-election in November, including Tom's seat. Democrat Joan McBride, the former mayor of Kirkland, had already announced she was running against him.
Tom wrote fellow caucus members that he hoped they, "stay true to the core principles of the (caucus), and leave the social and other divisive issues aside."
"If you stay focused on what really matters in driving our economy forward, the citizens of this state will be well served," he wrote.