Never hurts to be able to wave a pile of money in the face of people who are considering opposing you in a political campaign. And Oregon Senator Gordon Smith, by announcing that in the first three months of this year he has added $700,000 to his $2 million campaign fund - and doing it days before he had to, thereby guaranteeing media coverage - is doing just that.
It could even be aimed directly at Democratic Representative Peter DeFazio, who this week seems to have turned into a possible contender for the Senate seat (after earlier declaring his non-interest), but whose reluctance to enter the race has a lot to do with the daunting rounds of fundraising required. DeFazio could raise the money to be competitive with Smith. The catch is that he'd have to put in a lot of time and effort, away from his newly beloved committee chairmanship, to do it.
Which may give emphasis to what we suspect DeFazio is privately telling those Democrats who want him to run: "Before we can even get serious: Show me the money, and prove to me that raising it isn't going to be preoccupying for the next year and a half." Sounds now as if whether he runs may hinge in large part on whether they can.