Oregon state Representative Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, evidently had joined the long list of House Republicans who were quitting the legislature at the end of this term. As he told the Oregonian back in June, "The Democrats came in with an agenda, and they left with the agenda complete. . . . You get to the point of, is it worth it?"
The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes is reporting on his blog that Boquist now has turned a 180 and then some: He's still not running for the House, but he is running for the Senate, for the seat held by third-term Senator Gary George, R-Newberg. George had been widely rumored as likely to depart after this term; apparently the succession has been worked out.
Mapes adds that "Boquist may be able to slide into the Senate seat." That's certainly possible. Of the two House districts in Senate District 12, Boquist's is probably the more solidly Republican (perhaps the most rural of Willamette districts, it runs south to within 20 miles or so of Eugene), and he has won his two terms there decisively. (The other House seat is held by Donna Nelson, R-McMinnville, who nearly lost last year, and may also retire in 2008.) He's a solidly experienced campaigner at this point, after not just those experiences but also two (failed) runs for Congress against Democrat Darlene Hooley. And he has a compelling personal background, including a career in the military with time in special forces and assignment not so long ago in Iraq. He clearly enters the race as the man to beat.
That Nelson race and some other indicators, though, suggest that the district may be less solidly Republican than it traditionally has been. The next move here is up to the Democrats, who have a tougher challenge trying to take this seat than would have been the case if George had left without a successor ready to step in.