The announcement by Dave Hunt, the Oregon state House member who is a former speaker, that he's running for chair of the Clackamas County commission, isn't a shock; word has been circulating for a while.
The sheer number of Democrats departing the Oregon Legislature in the last few months, or seeking to, is interesting, though: A couple now running for Congress, another moving into the Kitzhaber Administration.
One guess that redistricting might have had something to do with this could seem reasonable, but doesn't hold up. Like other legislators, Hunt was not thrown into a district-untenable situation for 2012; he ought to have been able to manage well enough in his new district. Maybe better than in Clackamas as a whole, since Clackamas is a politically marginal county. Party registration does tip to the Democrats (a reversal from a decade ago), but not by a lot. And more-Democratic Washington County has in recent times chosen more-conservative over more-liberal county officials. Clackamas chair isn't a slam dump.
But it could have an effect on politics in 2012 in Clackamas overall. And a strong candidate running countywide could have some benefit for Democrats in the marginal areas.