The second interesting contest in the Portland metropolitan area is the race to replace David Wu in OR-01. While much has been written of David Wu's bizarre behavior, lackluster body of achievement and his ultimate decision to resign, little has been written about the candidates running in the Democratic primary. As a soon to be resident of Oregon's First Congressional District, I am excited to be voting for a more effective Congressman than Wu. Unfortunately there aren't any public polls out yet, so I will use Facebook as a (very) rough proxy for popularity:
Oregon Labor Commissioner Avakian's strong numbers can be somewhat attributed to his being in the race the longest, several months before David Wu decided to retire. State Sen. Witt threw his hat in the ring a few weeks ago, before State Sen. Bonamici's rollout, yet he has less than a tenth of her Facebook numbers. In fact, as of this writing Bonamici's web site is still being developed and doesn't yet have pages about issues or her background. If Witt doesn't find a way to gain more steam sooner rather than later, he will find his supporters being siphoned off by one of the two more competitive candidates.
Voting in this primary will be what I would classify as a good problem, where there are things to like about all of the candidates. Right now Avakian seems to be the strongest and has locked down a number early endorsements. I like that he has legislative experience in both the State House and Senate as well as his current statewide position as Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. I am currently supporting him and had made a donation to his campaign before I thought that David Wu would retire. If I were to vote today, it would be for him, however I am open to the other candidates, particularly Bonamici, so I will hold off from making contributions and volunteering until I learn more.
Part of the reason I am open to Bonamici is the fact that Oregon's congressional delegation is all men. We are a progressive state, yet none of our five representatives, two senators or our governor are women. Don't get me wrong, most of them do strongly care about women's issues and fight for fair wages and choice. Neighboring California and Washington only have women senators, so I think it's a little surprising how the highest ranking woman in our state would have to be our Secretary of State, Kate Brown. Oregon can do better than this.
What this means, at least in the context of my vote and my support is that I am predisposed to giving Bonamici serious consideration. I want her to be a strong candidate that can serve as a role model for women in Oregon. If she is not, I will support one of the other candidates.