"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Wu is out

David Wu
David Wu

Oregon 1st District Democratic Representative David Wu has said he will resign, as soon as the the debt ceiling issue is resolved. There was less than perfect clarity about what resolution means.

It’s a national story – any resignation of a member of Congress is, especially when juicy is involved – and he may be departing just ahead of a larger media roar. It’s already large enough – Jay Leno referenced him on the Tonight Show last night.

What we do know about what will happen next, once his resignation date is set, is that Governor John Kitzhaber will call a special election. He will have options, but most likely – if he does as he did back in 1995 when Senator Robert Packwood resigned – there will be two elections, first a primary and then a general, to select Wu’s replacement.

Expect much more action on the Democratic than the Republican side, though a special election could attract any number of officeholders who (this being mid-term for everybody) could stay in place if they lose.

Early odds have to go to state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, who formally announced his entry on April 18 – giving him a big head start – and has been fundraising, organizing and campaigning intensively since. State Representative Brad Witt is also in, but fairly recently. If the primary election is only two to four months off, Avakian’s advantage – as matters stand – may be hard to surmount.

And in this strongly Democratic district, he would be a tough target for a Republican too, which may be why there’s been no Republican stampede so far in the 1st.

But, as ever, the facts on the ground can change. Just ask Wu.

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