Rep. David Wu (D., Ore.) ended his 2010 reelection bid with some serious problems, despite winning another term:
On Oct. 27, he gave a speech so negative and loud that a Washington County Democratic Party member complained formally to his office. The outburst was followed two days later by an episode at Portland International Airport, where Wu used his influence as a member of Congress to enter a restricted area and campaign for votes from off-loading passengers. One passenger filed a complaint, and a Transportation Security Administration employee was later required to be retrained for his lapse in letting Wu past security.
Then he held no public events the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before Election Day. Then almost all of Wu’s longtime staffers resigned, telling the press about the increasingly odd behavior that had prompted them to discuss checking Wu into a psychiatric hospital.
Republican Rob Cornilles gave him his toughest challenge in years. And then . . .
Defiant and dug in, Rep. David Wu said late Sunday that he would not resign, declaring instead that he will complete his term and then retire from Congress in 2012. The surprising decision came one day after senior Democratic leaders urged the seven-term Democrat to resign quickly after reports that he was accused of an unwanted and aggressive sexual encounter with a young woman last November.
So how are the Republican chances in an open-seat race? As the Cook Political Report noted, “Redistricting made this district about two points more Republican, as it gave up some of its Multnomah County (Portland) precincts to the urban 3rd CD.” They also note, “An early march SurveyUSA poll found that 46 percent of voters thought he should resign, compared to just 42 percent who thought he should stay in office. Furthermore, the poll found voters would back Cornilles in a hypothetical rematch, 41 percent to 33 percent.”
Wu already had a Democratic primary challenger, state labor commissioner Brad Avakian.
In addition to Cornilles, there’s another intriguing GOP option in this district: Rob Miller, a Portland businessman who heads a Gresham-based food manufacturer.
The NRCC has no comment on Wu’s current troubles.