We hadn't especially pegged Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley - fresh from his first session in that role - as a big dice roller. There again, if you have ambitions, you move when the time is right, and you can't always pick your time.
Both the Associated Press (according to "two sources close to the campaign") and Willamette Week ("Three highly-placed Democratic sources") today are reporting that Merkley will file paperwork early in August to run for the U.S. Senate, for the seat now held by Republican Gordon Smith. Merkley has made no formal acknowledgment, saying only that a final decision still is forthcoming.
The one substantial Democrat so far in that race is Steve Novick, a consultant who has deep background in Oregon politics but who has not run before. Odds in the primary seem to go to Merkley, who has national encouragement and an instant large fundraising network. (Although, if Novick were to beat him, he would emerge in the general to face Smith as a proven giant-killer.)
Offers one comment writer on WW: "Dave Hunt will make an excellent Oregon House Speaker, and either Diane Rosenbaum or Arnie Roblan will make a very good House Majority Leader."