Tis a little striking how steadily the leading Oregon Democrats keep taking themselves specifically out of contention for the U.S. Senate next year, to challenge Republican Senator Gordon Smith. But as well, we're starting to notice the trap doors alongside the hitherto flat demurrals.
Representative Darlene Hooley (5th district) is the latest to say that nope, she won't do it. (The item shows up on the Oregonian's political blog.) And in her case, that seems to be that. She hadn't really been expected to run, or thought likely to, partly given her improved status in the House.
That point also evidently has been influencing decisions by the other three Oregon House members. One of those three, David Wu (1st district), similarly opted out, with no further discussion since. But the Oregonian piece intriguingly adds (from his spokesman), "if that opportunity were to present itself, he would definitely consider it." Which is more than he seemed to before.
Peter DeFazio (4th district), likewise has said in clear terms that he wouldn't run, but we're perceiving a slight crack in the door, based partly on some chatter in DC and partly on the qualification in his spokesman's statement that he "has not changed his position on running at this time" [emphasis added].
Finally, Earl Blumenauer (3rd district) has never committed himself one way or the other, beyond saying that he isn't ready to say anything yet, other than (in the Oregonian piece) saying the Democrats would likely have a candidacy rolling by Labor Day (more than five months off).
Okay: Odds are none of them run. But we do start to run if some serious discussions are quietly underway in the cloakrooms . . .