By Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland). Learn more at EarlBlumenauer.com
For the last year I have fielded questions and comments about me running for the Senate.
After Peter DeFazio announced his decision not to run for the Senate, the race became an unavoidable topic. I said I would look at it and consider whether a candidacy made sense for me and my family. At this time, it does not, and I have decided not to run for the US Senate.
This was not an easy decision. There is no question that Gordon Smith is vulnerable to defeat. His post-election turnaround on Iraq leaves no doubt that he knows he's out of step with most Oregonians. Gordon Smith and the Republicans were supporters and enablers of the Bush/Cheney Administration and its disastrous policies not just in Iraq but, on the environment, impeding and influencing justice, questionable political appointees, Terry Schiavo........ The list is extensive on the many ways Gordon Smith and George W. Bush are out of step with Oregon.
There is also no doubt that the Senate Democrats under the Chairmanship of Senator Chuck Schumer are poised to build on their 2006 success, with all the resources necessary to wage a winning campaign.
The difficulty in even doing the ground work to evaluate the race was that I have an important, all consuming day job. After years of working in the minority, fighting the Bush administration and Tom DeLay to stop reckless policies and promote Oregon priorities, the world has dramatically changed.
My issues, from ending the Iraq war to stopping global warming, to making sure everyone has health care they can afford, a quality education, and a good job, have gained not just attention, but traction and even momentum. My committee assignments put me in the best possible position to deal with these priorities everyday. I’ve been working for over a decade to get on the Ways and Means Committee and to regain a Democratic majority. I say with January both of these dreams become a reality. Speaker Nancy Pelosi also chose me to serve on the new Global Warming and Energy Independence Committee.
At this unique moment in history there is too much work to be done in the House of Representatives to take on a campaign for the US Senate.
The winning candidate should devote 100 percent effort for the next 18 months to overcome the onslaught that will come from the incumbent, Karl Rove and the Bush White House, and the many special interests who want to keep Smith in office.
I look forward to fighting hard to replace Gordon Smith with a progressive leader for Oregon and continuing to work with the Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate to strengthen our majorities while we hold the Bush administration and their Republican allies accountable in 2008.