OR-1: Let the madness commence!

Carla Axtman

The political theater unfolding in the First Congressional District took a couple of entertaining turns this week. One of the great things about being on the outside looking in: you get to sit back, pop the corn, and watch things unfold.

The rumor mill was rife earlier this week that both David Wu and Brad Avakian would be attending the Washington County Democrats Central Committee Meeting this evening. Alas, it's not to be. Wu has a town hall meeting in Portland tonight. But sources tell me that Avakian will be in attendance.

It's been a good week for Avakian in terms of fundraising, too. His campaign announced that they've raised $40k with another $17k in pledges for their first week. That's a pretty good pace, certainly enough to keep up with what Wu claimed last month.

Politico's Alex Isenstadt has a quite a write up about the brewing race in the First, with quotes from a number of heavy hitters. Democratic consultants Jim Ross and Mark Weiner see Wu as exceptionally weak:

“He’s in an extraordinary amount of trouble. He’s the most vulnerable incumbent congressman in the country who’s running for reelection. I can’t think of another member of Congress less likely to be reelected than him,” said Jim Ross, a Democratic consultant who is a veteran of campaigns in the state. “Everything is trending against him.”


Wu’s political difficulties, however, are more deep-seated than the recent batch of negative press. Throughout his seven-term career, Wu has struggled to free himself from the perception that he’s detached from his constituents, or a back-bencher who’s failed to achieve the same levels of recognition as some other home-state colleagues.

“I think the consensus is that David Wu hasn’t been much of an impact player, and that’s going to be an argument and message you’re going to hear over the next year,” said Mark Weiner, a leading Portland-based Democratic consultant who most recently worked on Gov. John Kitzhaber’s successful campaign.

The Politico piece goes on to mention Rep Brad Witt and Ryan Deckert as possible challengers as well. They don't mention State Senator Suzanne Bonamici, however. Sources tell me that Bonamici is considering wading in, but won't make a decision before the end of legislative session/redistricting hearings. Bonamici is chairing the redistricting hearings around the state.

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    Can someone please offer Mr. Wu a job out of Congress that fits his talents and interests so we can avoid a potentially awkward primary? It is destined to be the campaign of the unsaid otherwise, with the other candidates dancing around the Wu issue like ballerinas on stage. I just don't feel like seeing that kind of "show". Do you?

    And where is our rock star genius Richard Devlin in this? I saw a posting here at BO that he was being considered...He would make an excellent congressperson IMHO.

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    At this point it should be on the DNC & DCCC to chill his national money and move Wu into retirement. Unless (and I'm not sure of the precise chain of command here) William Shatner or Leonard Nimoy could give him a direct order.

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