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OREGON: Blumenauer Will Run for Re-election

In a move that surprised many Beaver State Democrats, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) announced Tuesday that he would seek re-election in 2004 rather than run for mayor of Portland.

Blumenauer, who went to Congress in a special election in 1996, had spent the summer on a listening tour of sorts throughout the city, telling voters he was seriously considering the mayor’s race. Blumenauer had run unsuccessfully for mayor in 1992, when he was a member of the Portland City Council.

As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Blumenauer has pushed light-rail funding, better land use planning and more bike trails — issues that are dear to the hearts of many Portlanders.

But his decision is sure to disappoint several ambitious Democrats who were preparing to run in the heavily Democratic 3rd district if the seat had become vacant — and political observers who were anticipating a hard-fought race.

Sam Adams, former chief of staff to outgoing Portland Mayor Vera Katz, had already set up an exploratory committee for the House race. Steve Novick, a politically connected lawyer, had lined up top-flight consultants. And state Senate Democratic Leader Kate Brown was soliciting support from political insiders and women’s groups.

It is unlikely that anyone would challenge Blumenauer in the primary.

— Josh Kurtz


Perdue Aide Prepares For House Race in 8th

Moving one step closer to officially announcing a Congressional bid, Dylan Glenn (R) last week left his position in the administration of Gov. Sonny Perdue (R). He had served as deputy chief of staff since the governor was sworn in at the beginning of 2003, and his last day in the office was Friday.

Glenn is widely expected to join the open 8th district race to succeed Rep. Mac Collins (R), who is running for Senate.

Glenn, who has worked in both Bush administrations as well as for the Republican National Committee, would be the third GOPer to enter the race in the staunchly Republican 8th district. He has run unsuccessfully for Congress twice before in the Peach State’s 2nd district, represented by Rep. Sanford Bishop (D). In 1998 Glenn lost in the GOP primary, and two years later he was defeated by Bishop 54 percent to 47 percent. Both Glenn and Bishop are black.

State House Minority Leader Lynn Westmoreland (R), who was recently endorsed by the conservative anti-tax Club for Growth, and state Sen. Mike Crotts (R) are already running for Collins’ seat.

— Lauren W. Whittington


Peeler May Jump Into GOP Senate Battle

Fresh off a 3,000-vote loss in the 2002 GOP gubernatorial runoff, former Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler (R) may now join the crowded Republican Senate race.

“I’m excited about the possibilities, but I just started the process,” Peeler told The Augusta Chronicle on Monday.

Peeler, who finished a hair behind then-Rep. — and now Gov. — Mark Sanford in the Republican race for governor, would join Rep. Jim DeMint, former state Attorney General Charlie Condon, Charleston developer Thomas Ravenel and Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride in the GOP Senate contest.

The Republican race has become difficult to predict; DeMint is the nominal frontrunner, but the race is proving far more competitive than most observers had anticipated.

The winner will face either State Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum or Columbia Mayor Bob Coble in the general election to replace seven-term Sen. Fritz Hollings (D), who is retiring next year.

— J.K.


Rendell Ally Torsella Prepares to Run in 13th

National Constitution Center President Joe Torsella (D) is expected to enter the open 13th district race soon, setting up a competitive primary in the battle to replace Rep. Joe Hoeffel (D).

Torsella, a close ally of Gov. Ed Rendell (D), has already begun telling friends and party leaders he will make the 13th district race, and he recently announced that he plans to step down from his Constitution Center position. He is expected to start out with a strong fundraising base, having just finished raising $150 million to build the Philadelphia center, which opened in July.

His entrance in the race is likely to set up a heavyweight showdown with state Sen. Allyson Schwartz (D), who is already running for the seat and has been endorsed by EMILY’S List. State Rep. Mark Cohen (D) is also running.

Republicans also face a primary fight in a district that was made more favorable for Democrats during last cycle’s redistricting efforts. Among the Republicans running are 2002 nominee Melissa Brown and state Rep. Ellen Bard.

— L.W.W.


GOP Scrambling for a 2004 Senate Contender

With Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R) both officially out of the race to take on Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) next year, Republicans are scrambling to find an alternative.

“We have several other potential candidates,” Arkansas GOP Chairman Marty Ryall told The Associated Press on Monday.

But he conceded that none of the potential Republican contenders has the stature of Hutchinson, Huckabee or Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller (R), who is mentioned as a possible candidate but is considered unlikely to run.

Hutchinson, who is now serving as an undersecretary at the Homeland Security Department, became the latest Republican to bow out of the race late Friday. Hutchinson did not rule out seeking political office again but refused to speculate about future opportunities.

Republicans believe Lincoln, who is completing her first term, would be vulnerable — if they could find a strong challenger.

— J.K.

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