Today, the National Journal's Hotline made the following observation about the state of the race in Oregon's 1st Congressional District (sorry, no link for this subscription service):
It's getting crowded in the race to challenge embattled Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) in the Democratic primary, as Oregon state Rep. Brad Witt (D) is considering challenging Wu. State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian (D) entered the race last week, and state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici (D) and former state Rep.Greg Macpherson (D) are reportedly also considering bids. The more, the merrier for Wu. If there's a splintered anti-Wu field, it would give the congressman a chance to prevail with a mere plurality of the vote.
Also today, they had this to say over at Swing State Project:
OR-01: State Rep. Brad Witt has been upgraded from "rumor level" to "considering level." Blue Oregon mentioned the other day that he was a possible contender to challenge Rep. David Wu in the Dem primary; now, according to Jeff Mapes in the Oregonian, some of his advisors are saying he's definitely interested. He'd be the second Democrat (well, other than Wu himself) to get into the race - Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian is already running, setting up a battle of the Brads. There are also still several other people in the more nebulous stages of candidacy, so I hope that we don't (as some have suggested in comments) wind up with David Wu turning into the Dem version of Dan Burton and winning the primary with a bare plurality.
And finally, the Daily Astorian had this to say:
At least two things are clear for Avakian and his eventual Democratic adversaries. It is not sufficient for a challenger not to be David Wu. To gain visibility, they must bring a measure of excitement that we have not seen in this congressional district. Secondly, as more challengers enter that primary, Wu’s odds of survival increase. That is the power of incumbency. In other words, a three-way or four-way primary race benefits Wu.
I completely agree with these assessments. If you're in the re-elect David Wu camp, for now, all you need to do is just stay out of the way and let the primary turn into a multi-candidate free for all.
My guess is David Wu is not as weak as many seem to think he is and has a LOCK on 35% - 45% of the Democratic primary vote, leaving around 60% of the vote left for a challenger/challengers to win. I also guess that his path to 50% or more is very, very difficult, meaning a single primary opponent has a real shot. However, multiple challengers will be left to fight for and split up 60% or less of the vote. The more candidates who get in the primary the more you have to consider Wu the favorite.
So based on the news reports we've seen - and if clearer heads don't prevail - next May we could be looking at a severely weakened incumbent moving on to a general election after earning about 40% of the primary vote. Left in the dust will be a group of incredibly talented progressive public servants all wondering what happened and what they're going to do next. And the rest of us will need to get ready to fight tooth and nail just to hold a seat that really shouldn't be that competetive in the first place.