Darlene Hooley to retire; sets up huge 2008 race

The Oregonian is reporting that Congresswoman Darlene Hooley will not run for re-election.

Hooley, 68, who spent time in the hospital in November, said health was not a reason for her decision not to seek a seventh term. "I've never felt better,'' she said in an interview.

Instead, she said it was the cumulative affect of arduous travel, the relentless demands of fundraising and 32 years of public service that converged into a decision.

"At some point in everybody's life you have to decide, how much longer do I want to do this?'' she said.

"It's time to move on.''

It's going to be a tough seat to hang onto:

With Oregon's primary election in May, Democrats in the mid-Willamette Valley will have to quickly decide whether they want to run for the House. Businessman Mike Erickson, Hooley's unsuccessful Republican challenger in the 2006 election, already had announced plans to run again.

Hooley's retirement means that a second congressional district in Oregon could be represented by a Republican. She represents Oregon's Fifth congressional district, which runs from south Portland to Corvallis and west to the coast. She has held the district — which has about 5,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats — by focusing on addressing the concerns of her constituents.

Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Wow! Odd that she'd wait this long to make such a momentous decision.

  • (Show?)

    Filing day is March 11.

  • (Show?)

    PolitickerOR is already speculating that Paul Evans, a former State Senate candidate, will run for the seat. And possibly Dave Hunt.

  • (Show?)

    Obvious question. Who might be running?

  • Darrell Fuller (unverified)
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    Might this might make floor speeches during the "special" session a little longer and a little more political? What fun!

  • David (unverified)
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    Either Paul or Dave would be great candidates. Although this will not be easy to hold, I think we should be able to. After all, with Oregon likely to go blue in November and the NRCC having serious money problems raising cash to defend their own seats, this won't be too much of a target for them.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Nick, thanks for that. I still have the Paul Evans tag on my key chain from the 2006 election. No question who I would vote for.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Not to criticize Hooley if there are unspoken reasons for why she is leaving (e.g., health), but she's left the party in a tough spot. With about one month to file, and about 14 weeks to the primary, it's going to be very difficult for anyone to organize a campaign and raise enough money to keep the seat in November. And yes, Republicans will be targeting this open seat heavily given the GOP registration edge. This will probably be in the top-5 targets nationally to turn.

  • Disgusted (unverified)
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    I would NEVER vote for Paul Evans! He is the most inappropriate wannabe legislator I've ever encountered in my life. Especially with actual qualified candidates like Martha Schrader and Dave Hunt, there is no way Evans stands a chance.

  • (Show?)

    Obvious question. Who might be running?

    I'm working on that post right now.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Paul Evans would be a great candidate and a great Congressman.

  • (Show?)

    While Kari's working on his post Mapes throws a few names around. More potential Republican candidates than Dems though.

  • (Show?)

    "Paul Evans, a former State Senate candidate, will run for the seat."

    Husband of Hooley's Chief of Staff, it should be pointed out. Certainly qualified, but the connection is notable, coincidental at least.

  • (Show?)

    Not to rain on everybody's horse race, but can we take a moment to thank Darlene Hooley for an impressive career of public service? Most recently she's caught my attention for being further out in front on impeachment than the rest of our delegation…but there's lots of inspiration to be found in her career. My guess is that my neighbors in the 5th district will miss her, not so much for the D next to her name, but as for her diligence working for her constituents. Yes, I hope we can find someone suitable to carry her legacy forward, but it seems like a strong legacy regardless.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darlene_Hooley

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    This could be a gift in disguise, as the Repubs will spend a lot of money (that they don't have) to target a seat that is competitive but still a tough fight for them, while the Democrats have the resources to put into this race.

    I agree with Darlene that, because this is a Presidential year, this is probably the best time for her to retire in this marginal district, given the anti-Republican atmosphere.

    Hopefully this will drain Republican resources from all throughout the state, and perhaps state legislators too... with any luck, several Republican legislators will run for this seat and have to give up on their own seats.

  • (Show?)

    I agree with what Torrid wrote above.

    This will be an incredibly important race for Ds nationally, but we should also take a moment to thank Darlene for her service and years of hard work. Darlene's been an effective Congresswoman and really done a great job also digging into issues like identity theft and troop body armor before media and other officials were as focused. She'll be missed. Good luck, Darlene!

  • (Show?)

    Sorry, I should have written I agreed with Pete's -- not Torrid's -- comments thanking Darlene for her service.

  • Joe Smith (unverified)
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    May I second Pete Forsythe's comment! Darlene has given Oregon and the Country superb service, and she will really be missed. One more thing: I hope at some point Kari decides that people who identify themselves with titles like "Disgusted," so they can throw brickbats while hiding their identity, should not get posted. The need for dialog in preserving and promoting Democracy is critically important, and Blue Oregon provides an extremely valuable service to our State, but the need for that dialog to be responsible is at least equally great, and responsibility starts with letting each other know who's communicating.

  • Newman (unverified)
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    I doubt that Dave Hunt will run since he has young children and is on track to become speaker next year. One of the Schraders (Kurt or Martha) will likely run. Fortunately, Darlene is kind enough to step down during a year that looks relatively good for the Democrats.

  • Willie Smith (unverified)
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    Darlene was an incredible advocate for her district, for veterans, for seniors, against the misguided Bush administration, and is a genuinely nice, caring, and fun person!

    As someone who got his start with her (along with many others...), I want to say thank you, Darlene, for your service and for giving me the chance to work with you.

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)
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    If she's got to go, she picked a good year to do it, with Democrats poised to sweep everywhere. This will be a likely hold. In fact, the increased turnout here for this race might be just what Merkely/Novick needs to push the US Senate seat into Democratic hands.

  • harry demarest (unverified)
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    Paul is a former 2 term mayor of Monmouth, and served in the Air Force and the Oregon Air National Guard.

    I do not agree that this happens so late that it jeopardizes our chances of winning 8-1/2 months from now in November. All the candidates will have to scramble to get their act together to compete in the primary, and the primary will be a good test to determine who will best represent Democrats in the fall. Certainly the possibility that Darlene would retire this year was a consideration for lots of potential candidates, and they have been grooming themselves for this opportunity for years.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Paul Evans is a great candidate! I hope he will run.

    And Darlene Hooley has had a great career and been an extraordinary and tenacious political leader to win and hold this seat in a difficult district. She is to be congratulated.

  • harry demarest (unverified)
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    Paul is a former 2 term mayor of Monmouth, and served in the Air Force and the Oregon Air National Guard.

    I do not agree that this happens so late that it jeopardizes our chances of winning 8-1/2 months from now in November. All the candidates will have to scramble to get their act together to compete in the primary, and the primary will be a good test to determine who will best represent Democrats in the fall. Certainly the possibility that Darlene would retire this year was a consideration for lots of potential candidates, and they have been grooming themselves for this opportunity for years.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks, Darlene, for all your years of service.

    My favorite encounter with Congresswoman Hooley was at the 04 DNC convention in Boston. I was a total newbie and didn't really know anyone. It was impossible to get to food once you were on the convention floor, and I was starving. Congresswoman Hooley graciously shared her M&Ms with me. I was thrilled that a congresswoman would do that!

  • DPO Staff (unverified)
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    DPO Chair Meredith Wood Smith's official statement on Rep. Hooley:

    “Congresswoman Hooley served Oregon with distinction and dedication. We are grateful for her work protecting consumers, her unwavering support for our troops and National Guard and her leadership keeping methamphetamine out of our neighborhoods. She is much appreciated and will be greatly missed.”

  • ORCity (unverified)
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    Two words: Lynn Peterson

    That's a win.

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    Kudos to Representative Hooley esp. for showing what real "support the troops" means, including when they come home.

    Given what Miles points out about candidate $; and what verasoie says about Dems (nationally I think?) being relatively flush, I hope no one will carp about DCCC money in this one :-)

    Hope Admiral Naismith is right about good effects on effort to unseat Smith, but seems like it could cut the other way just as easily -- Rs energized by prospect of flipping a seat put in an effort that also helps Smith. Would love to hear more analysis from folks knowledgeable about 5th district.

  • Jill Thorn (unverified)
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    Thank you Darlene for all you have done for West Linn, Clackamas County and the State of Oregon.

    Maybe we can talk the city into naming a park in your honor since that is how you got your start!

  • Misha (unverified)
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    Many of us who have worked in Oregon politics owe a lot to Darlene. In her 12 years in Congress, her office served as a training-ground for so many politico-wannabes. She believed in us and trusted us even when we didn't deserve it.

    What is remarkable about Darlene is not her voting record (although she has much to be proud of), but her personal touch. She has been a mentor for members of her staff and a compassionate ear for suffering constituents. She has given hope to countless individuals in need of veterans benefits or a social security check to put food on the table. She has empowered so many people by letting them know that their representative in Congress shares their concerns.

    Her successor -- whomever it may be -- has some giant sneakers to fill.

  • (Show?)

    I hope that Darlene stays involved in Oregon politics as a cheerleader and supporter like Barbara Roberts has done. She is fun to be around and helpful to all. Once the pressure is off she may find it more fun again on the sidelines helping others out.

  • Ricky (unverified)
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    I say we draft Mike Owens!

  • Ernie D (unverified)
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    Rep. Dave Hunt has announced that he will not be a candidate. Newman, you're right, it's because he has young children.

  • The Daily Ross (unverified)
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    Yes, Mike Owens would be a terrific choice. He's intelligent, articulate and passionate about the progressive movement. If not now, then definitely sometime soon.

  • Margalo (unverified)
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    A smart move would be to support one of the possible women for the 5th District, because there will be a lot more women making a point of voting for Hillary in the primary and probably general elections.

  • Tootsie (unverified)
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    I agree, Michael Owens would be a great choice! I back Mike!

  • Pat Malach (unverified)
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    Thanks for the Service Darlene.

    Great line about big "sneakers" to fill. Good one, Misha.

    I also wanted to point out that this ...

    "I hope at some point Kari decides that people who identify themselves with titles like "Disgusted," so they can throw brickbats while hiding their identity, should not get posted."

    ... was posted by Joe Smith. I wonder how John and Jane Doe feel about it?

  • (Show?)

    Unless I'm mistaken, Joe Smith is a well-known and well-respected member of Oregon's progressive movement…unlike John and Jane Doe, who (outside Chuck Schumer's imagination) haven't done a whole lot lately…

  • (Show?)

    Dammit, Misha. You beat me to the sneakers line. I'm leaving it in my new post, though. (Since I wrote it before I saw yours.)

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Thanks Darlene, it's been a heck of run and a heck of a job.

    We've got good people and a good year so this is an opportunity for you to step up.

  • (Show?)

    OK, those Mike Owens comments seemed suspicious. They're from separate IPs -- but they're all at Willamette University. For what it's worth.

  • The Daily Ross (unverified)
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    Yes, we're at Willamette University and we've got one hell of a candidate. Run Mike run!

  • (Show?)

    OK, but who is he? And please don't tell me this is some dorm-room joke...

  • Ricky (unverified)
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    Law students don't live in dorms!

    We are trying to draft one of our most promising students. He is reluctant as of now, but we are hoping to convince him, so let's start building his support.

    http://owensfororegon.blogspot.com

    So really... we know he probably isn't the most viable candidate today, but Mike Owens will be a name on the lips of many in the future of Oregon Politics.

  • Roger & Sandra Siegner (unverified)
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    How about Danny Glover???

  • (Show?)

    "So really... we know he probably isn't the most viable candidate today, but Mike Owens will be a name on the lips of many in the future of Oregon Politics." As will be Kat M. She's underage right now so I'm protecting her identity, but when she graduates high school, college and law school, and get a few years of seasoning in the real world, watch out. Look for her menta-blog in your cerebral implant around 2026. Oh, and thanks and good luck to Darlene, she will be a tough act to follow.

  • John (unverified)
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    I cannot believe the irresponsibility of this action. I just sent her $50 for her campaign. She was out pumping hard for campaign dollars. I want the money back to give to the person who will run in her place. Does she get to keep campaign donations? This is crap.

  • JTT (unverified)
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    Hooley was one of the first "politicians" I met when I was a student. I remember seeing her at a small forum with about 15-20 students talking about how she first got involved after her son was injured on a playground. Darlene has been a passionate advocate for many admirable and just progressive causes and I for one will miss her; plus her Colbert interview was hilarious! Thanks Darlene for your many many years of faithful, selfless service to Oregon and to the our nation. You're a great woman!

  • (Show?)

    No, John, what's "crap" is you posting your rambling here before you contact the campaign, and ask what might become of your $50.

  • (Show?)

    I have tremendous respect and personal affection for Darlene Hooley. I salute and thank her for her service to her state and her nation.

    I wish her a lengthy and fruitful retirement, and hope this means I'll see her around more than in the past.

    She's a sweetheart.

    Love you Darlene!

  • Tony (unverified)
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    Darlene Hooley has earned the respect of citizens in Oregon and across the country. We should all do well in commending Rep. Hooley for her record of service.

    Let us also be vigilant in electing a strong successor. We can keep this seat blue.

  • (Show?)

    No, John, what's "crap" is you posting your rambling here before you contact the campaign, and ask what might become of your $50.

    Yup, just another Republican troll trying to cause trouble here.

    Tell you what, "John". Post your real name, and what city you live in - and I'll get you your money back.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    How about Danny Glover???

    :) Excellent! And he actually is a homeowner in the district.

    GO DANNY GO!!!

  • Oregon Eyes (unverified)
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    32 years of public service???

    Folks, politics is not public service anymore, it is a lucrative job, just like being managing partner in a law or accounting firm. She made a career of it. It was her job. It made her rich and famous. That's not public service. Hooley was a career politician and everybody here is speculating who will be the career politician to move into her position. Anybody who gets mentioned (other than celebrities and the district's mega-rich) gets the "who's that?" treatment. Stop fooling yourselves about "public service" okay. It's funny to hear other Dems talk about how only the rich and high profile members of a society are valid candidates. If a pastor, psychiatrist, artist or whatever, no matter how well-educated and personally accomplished, tried to run, he'd get smeared. Be Democrats, not hypocrites.

  • (Show?)
    Folks, politics is not public service anymore, it is a lucrative job, just like being managing partner in a law or accounting firm. She made a career of it. It was her job. It made her rich and famous.

    I don't think Darlene is either particularly rich or particularly famous. As of 2005 her personal financial disclosures show a net worth between $154,000 and $411,000. That's middle class.

    And while being a member of Congress pays respectably well, I'm pretty sure that her earlier posts in -- yes -- public service didn't pay all that much.

    Please tell us which artist, pastor, and/or psychiatrist (incidentally. a psychiatrist is likely to be richer than Darlene) should run, and why we should support them. I'd like to hear about those candidates.

  • larryo (unverified)
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    "Darlene was an incredible advocate for her district, for veterans, for seniors, against the misguided Bush administration, . . ."

    All this praise for Darlene Hooley is unbelievable. The sentence above is pure fantasy. Hooley wrote an editorial piece in the Oregonian supporting a Bush administration effort to snoop through everyone's financial data without a warrant and calling 9/11 the bloodiest day in our nation's history. Apparently she had not heard of the civil war.

    She voted for the "Patriot" Act. She voted for the Draconian "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Act," which was really just George Bush's gift to the rapacious finance business - the only beneficiaries were banks and credit card companies.

    These judgments you people make - you ought to check your facts first. It's about time this woman got out of the way - we need a real progressive in her seat.

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