Rittereiser is one of six serious democratic candidates running for congress in Washingtons eighth district.
He told me he's especially pumped for the rodeo this weekend in Ellensburg, where he'll give his first town hall. Courtesy of Jason Rittereiser Campaign

Loyal readers of Slog know that Congressman Dave Reichert has refused to meet with his constituents over the years because he's an ineffectual politician who benefits from keeping a low profile. Aside from a few digital town halls, Congressman Reichert has held exactly zero town halls in his district since 2011.

In a nod to the Congressman's apparent demophobia, tomorrow morning former King County prosecutor Jason Rittereiser, who is running for Congress to unseat Reichert, will embark on a month-long town hall tour across the district. Rittereiser is one of six serious democratic candidates running for Congress in the 8th congressional district, which includes Auburn, Issaquah, Sammamish, Leavenworth, Ellensburg, and Wenatchee.

The challenger is aiming to hold 30 public meetings in 30 days, but right now he's only scheduled 23 on the calendar. Over the phone, though, he confirmed his campaign is currently nailing down the final seven events.

Rittereiser told me he's kicking off his tour in his hometown of Ellensburg because he was planning to be there anyway for the annual Ellensburg Rodeo. "It’ll be my 34th rodeo—I haven’t missed one in my entire life," he said.

I'm intrigued.

"I’ve been a rodeo fan literally my whole life," he continued. "The Ellensburg Rodeo happens Labor Day weekend, and it's the biggest community event there."

Had he ever chased any sheep while riding on a little horse?

"I participated in the junior rodeo as a kid, yeah, but beyond that I’ve just been a fan. I’ve grown up with some guys who do it professionally, and it’s been fun to watch them tour around the country," he said.

He told me he's especially excited for the 2017 Xtreme Bulls Tour Championship on Saturday. "They have three PRCA [Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association] bulls that come in, and then there’s the finals Monday," he said.

As for the people of the eighth, Rittereiser doesn't expect to hear many differences in terms of their concerns. "Whether we’re in Ellensburg or Wenatchee, or Auburn or Issaquah, they all seem concerned about the same issues. People haven’t had a pay raise in a decade. They’re paying more for housing, education, and childcare, and it seems like the system isn’t working for them."

"Their concerns do tweak a little," he added. "The guy in Issaquah isn’t necessarily concerned with getting his hay crop over the mountains, but he is concerned about infrastructure," he said.

Over the course of the month, Rittereiser's also holding a number of Facebook Live town halls "to make sure we can reach as many people as possible," he said. "There was a big effort on my behalf and on the campaign to be there in person, but we also understand that some people can’t be at the events we’re hosting."

Rittereiser does not expect to see Reichert while he's out on the road. Though Senator Maria Cantwell and Reps Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer hosted town halls during their last congressional work period, Reichert did not.

"That’s consistent with his record of not showing up in the district," Rittereiser said of Reichert. "We’re not likely to cross paths, but I’ve been surprised before."