Jul 26 2011

Wu is out

Published by at 11:40 am under Oregon

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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