From The Hotline:
Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) announced his retirement tonight, becoming the third Dem in a vulnerable seat to announce his departure in the last few weeks. "The time has now come to pursue other options, other ways of serving. Hence, I am announcing today that I do not intend to seek reelection to Congress in 2010," Baird wrote in a statement. "This is not an easy decision to be sure, but I believe it is the right decision at the right time."
The CD, with a Cook PVI of EVEN, is a very fertile open seat for GOPers to attack. Washougal City Councilor Jon Russell (R) and WA House GOP caucus ex-CoS David Castillo (R) were already running and prepared to face Baird. Several new candidates are likely to emerge.
Baird never had any difficulty winning re-election in this southwest WA CD; indeed, the 55% he took in winning his first term in '98 represented his toughest contest.
But it is a swing CD, as Pres. Bush carried it in '04 with 50%, and Pres. Obama won it four years later with 53%.