State Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, says he will not challenge Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee in next year’s election.

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OLYMPIA — Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond and chief GOP budget writer, announced late Friday afternoon that he would not be running to challenge Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee in next year’s election.

As chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Hill has played a key role in crafting the state’s past two operating budgets.

The announcement came days after an email by the Senate Republican Campaign Committee signaled that Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, also would not run for governor.

Both lawmakers, as well as Republican Congressman Dave Reichert, have been talked up by GOP insiders as potential challengers to Inslee, who was elected governor in 2012.

In an email to supporters, Hill wrote that he was humbled by people encouraging him to run, but, “I’ve decided it would not be best for the Hill family at this time.”

While his family has supported his work and campaigns, “the fact remains that I have two kids in high school this year — a senior considering colleges and a freshman new to the high school experience,” Hill wrote. “I want to be there for them.”

Jamal Raad, communications director for the state Democratic Party, tweeted Friday afternoon that Hill’s decision not to run was “bad news” for Republicans.

“Failure to recruit their shining star,” Raad tweeted.

Litzow didn’t respond to a request for comment this week regarding his decision.

In May, Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination.