ARepublican whose departure from elective office takes effect in January, and word of it comes out on election day. But for Washington state Senator Alex Deccio of Yakima, the reason isn't politics - he's in mid-term and wasn't up for election this year. It's health. He's dealing with prostate cancer, and it needs his attention, and he so informed the appropriate officials (the lieutenant governor and his party's leaders) on election day.
Doubtless his party's leaders were sorry to see him go, but at least he will be replaced by another Republican, in contrast to some other Republicans that day.
There's a certain other irony here. Some legislators are generalists, and some specialists. While Deccio certainly looked after his district (the Yakima Herald-Republic story on his departure attached a picture of him at the Yakima SunDome, development of which he played a key role), his legislative specialty was health.
Deccio looked at it broadly. You might not expect a Yakima Republican to lead work on AIDS-related legislation in the country, but he did. He did that work while never becoming an outlier in his party's caucus, a notable achievement. (He did also, it should be noted, take some anti-stem cell research stances as well.)
Democrats looking to work on health issues next session at Olympia may want to review his record; some useful pointers may be found there.