Retiring Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) endorsed state Sen. Derek Kilmer to replace him in the 6th district, a move that could keep the Democratic field cleared for Kilmer.
"Derek's career has been spent trying to retain and attract good jobs for our region and Congress needs more people with that kind of experience," the Appropriations Committee ranking member said in a statement Thursday. "He's hard-working, effective, and he's committed to bringing people together to get the job done."
Kilmer was also endorsed by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the Armed Services ranking member who represents a neighboring district. "In Congress, I know that Derek will continue to be a strong advocate for our veterans and the brave men and women of our armed forces and their families," he said.
After Dicks announced his retirement in early March, a long line of Democrats were expected to step forward for this once-in-a-generation open seat, which Dicks has held since being elected in 1976. But so far Kilmer's only opposition in the top-two primary are two Republicans Dicks defeated in the 2010 primary, Doug Cloud and Jesse Young.
The redrawn district includes most of three expansive coastal counties, plus Mason County, Kitsap County, which is across the Puget Sound from Seattle, and Pierce County, where Tacoma is located.
Kilmer, who also serves as vice president of the Pierce County Economic Development Board, was first elected to the state House in 2004 and the state Senate in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010 to the most Republican-leaning district held by a Democrat.