Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oregon state senator announces he'll run to succeed Darlene Hooley in Congress

Several weeks ago, Representative Darlene Hooley of Oregon's 5th District announced (to our surprise) that she would "pursue different professional opportunities in 2009" and not seek reelection to Congress this year.

Her sudden retirement creates a second competitive federal race in Oregon this year (Jeff Merkley and Steve Novick, among a host of other Democrats, are vying for the right to take on incumbent Republican Senator Gordon Smith this fall). Fortunately, at least one seasoned Democrat has stepped forward:
State Sen. Kurt Schrader announced Monday that he'll run for retiring U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley's Congressional seat, becoming the first Democrat to jump into what's shaping up as a marquee race for both parties.

Schrader, who serves as the co-chair of the Legislature's powerful budget-writing committee, could have the Democratic field all to himself. His wife, Clackamas County Commissioner Martha Schrader, was considering a run, but said she'll stand down for her husband.

And earlier Monday, another Democrat who had expressed interest in the race, former Monmouth mayor Paul Evans, took himself out of the running.

In contrast, a contested primary appears to be shaping up on the Republican side.

Already in the race is wealthy businessman Mike Erickson, who ran unsuccessfully against Hooley in 2006.

All but in is former Salem Rep. Kevin Mannix, known for his anti-crime ballot initiatives, who has high name recognition from several previous attempts at winning statewide office.

"If Schrader is the only serious candidate on the Democratic side, that's great news for him," said Portland pollster Tim Hibbitts. "A Republican primary battle could cause them to use up resources, and may leave some bad feelings."
Schrader represents several communities in the upper Willamette Valley, including rural Clackamas County, Canby, Gladstone, and Oregon City. He earned his B.A. at Cornell University and a B.S. from the University of Illinois, where he studied to be a veterinarian. He has served in Salem as a legislator since 1997, and has been involved with the City of Canby since the mid 1980s.

If anyone is going to challenge Schrader for the Democratic nomination, they're going to have to file soon - the deadline is March 11th. Oregon holds its 2008 primary election (including the presidential primary) on May 20th.


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