What is Earl Blumenauer up to?

The Oregonian finally took notice of all the political activity in Earl Blumenauer's world these days.

His campaign spent more than $100,000 on broadcast advertising this spring -- both in his Portland-area congressional district but also in Eugene, Medford and Bend. In May he spoke at a commencement in Eugene, and he's headed to Southern Oregon next month. ...

The TV spot ad directs Oregonians to his Web site, where he lists "ideas for a better future." They include transforming the kicker state tax refund into a rainy-day fund and limiting state campaign contributions.

In the one-minute commercial, the narrator discusses Blumenauer's "Oregon values," "never giving up on Oregon's future," and "building an economy that helps all Oregonians."

So, what's he up to?

Is Blumenauer eyeing Gordon Smith's Senate seat in 2008? Or is he building statewide name recognition for the 2010 gubernatorial race?

Blumenauer says he has no such plans. ...

He acknowledges that he's been approached by people about other races. "There are those who think I should be doing something else," Blumenauer says. "At this point, I think the most important thing I can try to do is help with this political cycle with these critical issues and try to get messages out."

But will he rule out a 2008 Senate campaign or 2010 gubernatorial race? "I am spending zero time speculating on that sort of thing," Blumenauer says.


  • Patrick Kennedy (unverified)

    Gordon Smith really needs to be defeated in 2008. I like Blumenauer (he is my congressman) and I think he would make a good Senator. I wonder what his chances would be in a race against Smith? It appears that the political landscape nationally has changed a lot due to the incompetence of Bush and the poor performance of the Republican-lead congress. 2008 might be the year a good challenger could beat Smith.

  • Noel Blake (unverified)

    Unless he changed his position when I wasn't looking, Smith is against net neutrality. While this isn't a barnburner issue (yet), this is the type of thing that can cause a guy to lose his "sane Republican" cred. This needs to be trumpeted in swing areas such as Portland suburbs and the Willamette Valley so that inattentive moderates think twice before filling the pencil dots next to Smith's name.

    That's half the issue - the other half is having a credible opponent. Blumenauer definitely fills that bill. So would De Fazio, but he's loathe to give up his House seniority and frankly I'd also like to see him stay put.

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    Is Blumenauer eyeing Gordon Smith's Senate seat in 2008? Or is he building statewide name recognition for the 2010 gubernatorial race? Blumenauer says he has no such plans. ...

    Man, why the hell not run against Smith???? And why not announce that right now? Earl, c'mon, you're the best we have, and we need a new Senator. Get in there, already!!!!!

  • Lewis (unverified)

    Unless someone changed how the US Senate actually works when I wasn't looking - seniority rules the roost. Smith and Wyden are both highly respected Senators (on both sides of the aisle) in Washington and their clout is growing. Having one Republican and one Democrat works to Oregon's advantage (particularly when the Republican is a thoughtful conservative).

    States and voters are ill-advised in my opinion to trade out incumbent Senators unless they are ineffective, corrupt or total imbeciles.

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    Seniority rules the roost. ... their clout is growing...

    Lewis, are you arguing that voters should automatically re-elect US Senators until death or willing retirement presents itself?

    If so, why not simply provide US Senators with life terms?

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    Earl may be tired of his minority party status, so this spending could be wise investment for the future. What if the Dems don't make many gains in 2006? What if a Republican wins the White House in 2008? I could imagine that a return to Oregon at that point would be awfully attractive.

    Does anyone think Earl could make a credible statewide run? It seems to me that DeFazio is much better positioned ideologically. Of course, Earl would romp in Multnomah and Lane Counties, but I wonder about his margins in Washington, Clackamas, and across the rest of the state.

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    The senate race in 2008 always make me think of Kitz. He has toyed with us on 2 prior races and bowed out. I would like to see John run against Senator Smith in 08 because I think he can win, and because we would not have to give up one of our Dem. house seats (and I agree that seniority is valuable). I don't know Kitz although we do BS at the store in Neskowin once in a while. Does anybody know if he has an exploratory committee?

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    Earl lacks statewide recognition. He's known as Portland-centric. That said, he may be working the entire state for a run for something. He may be taking the pulse for a potential run against Smith. At the very least he could unite the bicyclists across the state! He's always an interesting candidate... cozying up with Greg Walden might have set him to thinking..it'll be fun to watch.

  • Clack (unverified)

    I'd have to disagree that Smith is a "thoughtful conservative" or that his clout is growing.

    In DC he is known as something of a lightweight. What major Gordon Smith-spearheaded legislation can he point to?

    The only thing thoughtful about his positions is that he thinks very hard about issues where he can take stands that appear moderate without angering the Republican leadership. His flip-flop on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a great example. He was against drilling until his vote really mattered, then when party leaders asked for it he gave them his vote to open it to oil development.

    Earl doesn't have a great deal of state-wide name recognition... yet. This appears to be an effort to fix that.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)

    Gordon Smith has clout because he has seniority and he is a Republican in a Republican town. He really hasn't delivered very well for Oregon given his party is in power. Hatfield and Packwood both did far better even when the Senate was being run by Democrats.

    If the Democrats take control of the Senate, Smith becomes a liability for the state. Unlike Hatfield and Packwood, he isn't willing to stand up to his party leadership. He wasn't able to get them to deliver anything for Oregon in exchange for his support when they were in control, he sure isn't going to get them to help him deliver anything with the Democrats in control.

    Earl could be very formidable statewide, especially if Hatfield were to return the favor and endorse him against Smith. That said, the rumour is Earl would rather be living in Oregon (who wouldn't) and getting elected to a state office would allow him to do that. So he may be building statewide recognition without any firm plans. Getting elected to the Senate just cements him more firmly in DC.

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    BlueNote: The senate race in 2008 always make me think of Kitz. He has toyed with us on 2 prior races and bowed out. I would like to see John run against Senator Smith in 08 because I think he can win, and because we would not have to give up one of our Dem. house seats (and I agree that seniority is valuable).

    why would we have to give up one of our Dem. house seats? Even if Blumenauer runs against Smith, doesn't mean that seat all of a sudden shifts to the R's. That's a D seat for the rest of my lifetime, hopefully.

    btw, Love the idea of Kitz, too. But he seems to be wanting to improve healthcare, right now. A good cause. I'd rather have that senate seat in capable hands. btw, Smith a moderate who is looked up to? ???? Seniority is useful, but only if one does something good with it. I'm not seeing that at all from Smith. Back to veggie-packing in Pendleton, please. NEXT!!!!!

  • Zak J. (unverified)

    Concerning statements above about G. Smith's "respectability." No, he is not and should not be respected:

    Smith voted to confirm Alberto "Abu Ghraib" Gonzalez as U.S. Attorney General. This was done after everyone knew Gonzalez's role in creating the Bush administration's pro-torture policy (remember Al's note about the Geneva Convention being "quaint"?) Smith, therefore, voted to agree with Bush that the U.S.A. should be a country that tortures prisoners. With this vote, Smith and many other blindly loyal Bush supporters, showed he was unfit and unwilling to protect this country's values and legal traditions. He has got to go.

    Run, Earl, run!

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    just a thought, but anyone want to put together a website with all of the reasons one should vote to oust Mr. Smith in 2008? Let's get the campaign going now - and whomever runs against him and the GOP moneymachine, can have the site and its research handed to them. Seems like a worthy way to spend some volunteer time.

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    I love the role of Devil's advocate (since my day job is to be the advocate for "The Man"). So if Hillary loses in 2008 - which my lovely wife refuses to accept as a possibility - are we Oregonians better off with a milktoast G Smith continuing as our Senator, or with our newly elected Senator Kitz, or Earl, or ???.

    Just wondering.

  • james caird (unverified)

    if Hillary loses in 2008

    You mean, when Hillary loses the primary for 2008 nomination, right?

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    Liberal: “Pssst, Hey Dude!”

    Progressive: “What man, don’t bother me, I’m watching C-Span.”

    Liberal: “Hey Dude, did you hear about Blumenauer?”

    Progressive: “What, he’s not on CNN again is he, or did he buy a new bow tie?”

    Liberal: “No, it looks like he might run against Gordon Smith in 2008.”

    Progressive: “Wow, now that’s a piece of information! Did I miss a copy of Willamette Week?”

    Liberal: “Yeah, I just read it on Blue Oregon.”

    Progressive: “Wow, then it’s got to be the truth!”

    Liberal: “But wait man, if Blumenauer is running, isn’t it bad news to tell Smith this early?”

    Progressive: “No way. We must stick to our principles and be transparent with every effort for the cause. We must give Smith time to prepare, to line up the big donors, and to prepare traps and pitfalls. It is our duty as Progressives to be completely open and honest in every endeavor.”

    Liberal: “That’s a heavy speech man.”

    Progressive: “Yeah well, you interrupted my C-Span.”

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    “Yeah, I just read it on Blue Oregon.” “Wow, then it’s got to be the truth!”

    Not hardly. This is just the watercooler, folks.

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    True Kari..it's all speculation at this point.

    Smith is going to line up big money donations regardless of who runs against him. He has to know IF the democrats put up a creditable candidate that he is in trouble.

    Now someone floated the idea of an anti Smith website. Count me in, but does anyone know if we need to set up an organization just to oppose him information wise.

    Someone Albert or anyone else interested can send me an email at nambuelementry at yahoo dot com.

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    well, it ain't a National Park, but it's a good forward step. Thanks, Earl!

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