A number of candidates are stepping up to vie for the position.

GOP Legislator Doc Hastings announced recently that he will be retiring from Congress at the end of the year, vacating the 4th Congressional Seat in the House of Representatives, a position he's held since 1994.   Doc's shoes will be large ones to fill, as he sat on and chaired a number of powerful committees, and carried considerable influence for Washington and the Pacific Northwest.  Hastings also held onto the position by being re-elected by some of the widest margins of victory of any House races across the country.   But come December 31st, a very new chapter begins for Washington state.

The candidates include former Washington Redskins Super Bowl winner Clint Didier, who has been active in politics since his NFL retirement in the 1980's. Didier ran against Senator Patty Murray in 2010, but lost, and also staged a strong campaign for Washington state lands commissioner in 2012 before losing.  He entered that race at the last minute, and put up a respectable showing.  Didier is a strong TEA Party style candidate,  who favors small government and isn't afraid to voice his opinion.  Didier has been very active in a number of political ventures over the last few years, and is well-respected.

Franklin County Commissioner Brad Peck has also declared; he was endorsed in 2012 by Doc during his bid for re-election to that position. Peck has an extensive political history,  and as a member of the Air Force has worked in a variety of positions including the Pentagon.  Peck is very well known in the Mid-Columbia for his years of service, most recently on the bladderpod issue with the government in the White Bluffs Franklin County area.

Also running is Washington state Senator Jenea'  Homquist-Newbry,  who represents parts or all of Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln and Yakima counties in Olympia.    She is known within state circles as a conservative tough legislator. She is also part of the famous Coalition in the Senate who are regularly battling Gov. Jay Inslee on various legislative issues.

Also declaring for the position is Gavin Seim, a relative newcomer to politics.He began to form the groundwork of entering into political office in 2013, due to what he believed was Hastings' unconstitutional positions on the issues, and desire for supporting big government. Hailing from Ephrata, besides Didier, he is probably the most outspoken and independent candidate, who is a private businessman (he runs an acclaimed portrait studio and photography business) and fiercely "anti-establishment." He, according to his website, is very committed to full repeal of Obamacare, economic growth through free markets, reduced taxation, limited government, and constitutional accountability. Of the four, his campaign could be considered the most "grass-roots."

Other potential candidates could include Dan Newhouse, former state legislator and state agriculture director. You may have seen him appearing in the anti-food labeling ads last fall. Also, State Senator Sharon Brown of Kennewick, who represents the 8th Legislative District (Richland, West Richland, Kennewick and Prosser), has reportedly put together an exploratory committee.