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Derrick Kitts

Derrick Kitts

Intriguing political gossip from Northwest Republican, from whence word of a possible Republican primary for a state House eat being vacated next year by a Republican.

The district is 26, which runs the south/southwest of Portland strip from Wilsonville to Sherwood to Bull Mountain – mostly fast-growing and mostly, though not overwhelmingly, Republican. The departing legislator is Jerry Krummel of Wilsonville, a five-termer whose recent re-elect numbers (in the high 50s, mostly) are enough to suggest that he personally would have been fairly secure, though the district is less than a partisan lock.

Days after Krummel’s announcement, activist (and writer for the Cascadia Policy Institute, among others) Matt Wingard said he would run for the seat. The Oregonian blog post noting his announcement wondered, “Could it be a raucous Republican primary?”

Could. This has to do with Derrick Kitts, the former House member from Washington County who in 2006 gave up that seat to run for the U.S. House. (He was mowed under by Democratic Representative David Wu.) Now, Kitts apparently wants back into the Statehouse, but also has observed how most of Washington County has gone Democratic. That includes his old House seat, taken over last year by Democrat David Edwards.

From Northwest Republican today: “I had heard from virtually everyone I talked to that Kitts was bound and determined to move into a safe district in order to resurrect his political career. . . . The best move for Kitts would have been to stay in his old district and run against David Edwards. The guy who replace Kitts after Kitts tried to run for Congress. However it sounds like he was not interested in heading such advice and is bound and determined to carpet bag into another House district that has a Republican lock. That is a bad move and I for one hope he reconsiders.”

The blog had earlier written favorably about Wingard, and that probably factored into the equation. The political analysis is sound, though: Kitts might have a better shot trying to rebuild his old campaign efforts than starting from scratch in a new district, against a first-termer who’s still less than secure; and Republicans might have a better shot holding Krummel’s seat with a clear shot nominee or maybe two newcomers. And no doubt there are Washington County Republicans, looking at how best to play their limited assets, who would rather seem them organized differently than this.

Watch for more on this.

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