OR-1: Get the popcorn, it's starting.

Carla Axtman

Things in Oregon's First Congressional District are about to get interesting.

First, there's redistricting. There's been a push by Republicans to jettison Multnomah County from the district, certainly in an effort to make the seat more friendly to a Republican challenger. The problem is, of course, that it's tough to make the argument that those of us who live smack dab in the center of urban unincorporated Washington County aren't essentially the same "community of interest" as those who live less than 5 miles away and essentially have the same wants, needs, etc. Testimony from one GOPer even went so far as to describe her notion of the community of interest as "Beaverton Barbie". Not only is this insulting and absurd, it doesn't resemble the high percentage of families that I know in my neighborhood or those around me. Why the Republicans think running down the people of Washington County is a way to win this one is a mystery to me.

But that, my friends, is only the beginning of the intrigue in the First.

A line of challengers is beginning to form for the Democratic primary against the current occupant of the Congressional seat, David Wu, whose political career appears gravely wounded after weeks of negative reporting around his professional conduct and personal issues.

Former State Representative and current member of Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development Greg Macpherson is considering a run. Macpherson would have to run while living outside the First District (he resides in the 5th). His attention is also divided as he is also considering taking a run at the Attorney General's seat.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian is also in the news regarding a possible primary challenge to Wu. Avakian is a former state legislator from the district with very good name recognition and what appears to be the underpinnings of a strong campaign team.

The rumor mill has also mentioned that State Representative Brad Witt is considering entering the primary fray. In addition, Clatsop County Commissioner Dirk Rohne, who recently party-flipped to join the Democrats, may also wade in.

Republican State Senator Bruce Starr appeared to be entertaining the idea for awhile, but has said he won't challenge Wu. The district has been unfriendly territory for Republicans and even with redistricting is unlikely to get better for someone like Starr, who I think would have difficulty winning his own senate district in a congressional race. Rob Cornilles, Wu's 2010 GOP challenger, is saying he's pondering a run.

If you like horserace politics, the First is definitely your best shot at brain candy in Oregon.

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    One bit of clarification: Greg currently lives in the 5th district -- but his current home was in the 1st district in the prior congressional map.

    Greg has said he won't run in the 1st unless he lives in the 1st.

    Full disclosure: My firm built Macpherson's campaign website in 2008. I speak only for myself.

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    I suspect that there are other Democrats in the legislature that will be interested in running, but will not go public until the session is over. If they raise their head, it will be a target until the redistricting gets resolved by the legislature.

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    Not to quibble (okay, so maybe it is a quibble) but Greg Macpherson is a member of the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) which oversees the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD).

    The two are often confused, but LCDC is the policymaking board consisting of unpaid citizen members. Greg's day job is an attorney with Stoel Rives in Portland.

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    I find it hard to blame Wu's woes on mean reporters out to do him in (referring to the negative press). He did that all by himself. And all y'all re-voted him in. Again.

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    Oh please, tell me why Multnomah needs to be dissected in so many ways, especially so at the state level?

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      Easy, Bryan. It's not about counties. It's about "communities of interest.". People who live in East Multnomah County have much different needs and issues than those who live in the western part, near me.

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    Looks like yer boy Wu is stacking some chips.

    "A spokesman for Oregon Democrat David Wu said Thursday that the seven-term congressman raised just over $219,000 between January 1 and March 31 this year."

    That's quite a bit of money and your answer is some conservation bureaucrat and a labor crony?

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      I guess we could go your route and put up a slick, corporate stooge. Cuz that's worked out so well for ya, right?

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      Middling numbers for Wu. Avakin may throw his hat in this thing after all. He sounded like he is sorting out his plans for 2012 in the next couple of days.

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      Middling numbers? I love the way socialists have no concept of value. I also like that while you are all shooting yourselves in the foot with your pathetic line up of candidates that we can elect a real capitalist so that someone that knows the real value of a buck can represent us in a manner more consistent with the values on this side of town.

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        Not sure what you feel inaccurately applying the label of socialist to anyone has to do with the discussion at hand, but whatever floats your boat I guess.

        But yes, middling numbers given Wu's length of time in office and the seriously depleted war-chest he has. From the article you were obliquely referring too in your previous comment:

        Wu's coffers are less robust than they've been at this stage of a campaign for at least a decade. After the 2010 election, Wu's campaign owed $61,000 in debt with just $7,500 in the bank. At this point two years ago, Wu had $306,000 in the bank with no debt.

        As I said, middling numbers.

        Many of the larger donors are giving pro forma donations at the moment until they get a better read of what a potential field might be and what Wu's viability are (factoring in how effective they see Wu being going forward as well).

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          Whatever way you need to convince yourself that dumping a guy you more than likely voted for to get the candidate from Trumka doesn't paint a very stable/serious picture for you or your party. I like that, I really do.

          Oh and just for sake of argument, that 300k looks like money leftover from a campaign without an opponent to me. Did he have a credible opponent in '08?

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            Based on this logic, the GOP is Washington County is in even worse condition. If the voters in this district (D's, NAVs, Working Family, Independents mostly, to hazard a reasonable guess) are willing to vote for Wu over the warmed over corporate schtick that the GOP keep offering up--that says a lot more about their weakness than the D's.

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            Obviously you didn't actually understand the part of the article I quoted.

            Try again.

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        what real capitalists? corporations receive more govt largesse than all the welfare queens Reagan could ever have imagined. GE, Lockheed, the banks, Wall Street, the telecoms - holy carp, you name, they're getting rich thru contracts or really nifty laws.

        since socialism is actually the rule of the people, by the people (those affected by decisions making those decisions, especially regarding the workplace), then we have not a whiff of it in DC. and very little elsewhere -- save the corporate boardrooms.

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    Where is the redistricting process now and when will it come to a conclusion?

    I liked Greg MacPherson when he was our Rep. in Lake Oswego. He worked hard campaigning and went door to door. Pretty progressive in his outlook if memory serves.

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      Redistricting is just getting underway with public hearings. You can expect that the Lege will struggle to get it done much before the end of the session in June.

      If they fail to pass a congressional districting plan, then the courts will weigh in. (Lege is different - that goes to the secretary of state.)

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    and seriously: Macpherson wants to primary Kroger?

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