Vancouver Mayor Leavitt eyes re-election bid, nixes run for Congress

He won't challenge Herrera Beutler

By Andrea Damewood and Stephanie Rice

Published:

Updated: November 21, 2011, 5:54 PM

 

Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt said Monday he will not run against U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in 2012, but did say it’s “very likely” he’ll run again for mayor in 2013.

Speculation about whether Leavitt would run against Herrera Buetler, R-Camas, was the subject of a front-page story in Sunday’s Columbian.

Leavitt, 40, made his announcement Monday in an email to members of the Vancouver City Council, City Manager Eric Holmes and lobbyist Mark Brown.

“I committed to making a final decision about a run for our Congress seat this past week,” Leavitt wrote. “After much conversation, advice/feedback and deliberation, I’ve decided now is not the right time for me, for our city council and for our community to pursue the WA 3rd Congressional District seat.”

Leavitt said his work in Vancouver, including serious adjustments and improvements in the city’s structure, as well as community development projects, isn’t done.

“I want to see those through to completion,” said Leavitt, who was elected in 2009. “I’m not sure we’ll be able to finish laying those foundations in the next two years.”

Two city councilors have also expressed interest in Leavitt’s job, Mayor Pro Tem Larry Smith and Councilor Jeanne Stewart.

“If those council members think they can do a better job than I can, I welcome the challenge and debate in a public forum on our accomplishments and leadership style,” he said Monday. “I think it was my predecessor coined who the phrase, ‘Hey, anybody can run for mayor.’ But there’s a difference between running for mayor ... and actually handling the pressure and responsibilities.”

“I would put my résumé and accomplishments in both the private and public sector to anybody who believes they are a viable candidate for mayor’s position,” Leavitt continued. “My accomplishments for the community that I grew up in would speak for themselves.”

Leavitt said he received lots of positive feedback Monday on his decision to remain local.

“People are happy with what’s going on at City Hall, happy with my leadership,” he said. “That’s the kind of feedback I’ve received.”

But don’t count him out as a future candidate at the state or national level.

“This doesn’t preclude future consideration of higher office; I will have to evaluate where I can be most effective,” Leavitt said.

Last week, another subject of speculation, Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart, 40, said he will not run against Herrera Beutler, 33.

Jon Haugen, a commercial airline pilot who describes himself as a conservative Democrat, has said he will run against Herrera Beutler in 2012.

Haugen, 52, ran in 2008 against state Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield.

Andrea Damewood: 360-735-4542 or andrea.damewood@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reporterdamewood or www.twitter.com/col_cityhall