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Oregon Special Election Set for January

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) announced late Wednesday that the special election to fill former Rep. David Wu’s (D) seat will be held on Jan. 31, 2012, with a primary on Nov. 8, 2011. 

“I have received a letter of resignation from Congressman David Wu and am working with the Secretary of State’s office on a special election process,” Kitzhaber said in a statement. “Holding both a primary and general election allows the voters of the First Congressional District full participation in selecting a replacement.”

The district has elected only Democrats to the House since 1974, so the winner of the November Democratic primary will likely go into the general election as a heavy favorite. Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian (D) and state Rep. Brad Witt (D) are running, 2010 GOP nominee Rob Cornilles (R) is getting in the race today and state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici (D) is set to run as well.

Wu wrote a handwritten resignation letter to notify the governor and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that he was stepping down, effective at midnight Wednesday.

“Serving as a United States Congressman has been the greatest honor of my life. There is no other job where you get up every day and ask, ‘How can I try to make the world a better place today,’” Wu wrote in blue ink on official Congressional stationery.

“However great the honor and engaging the work, there comes a time to hand on the privilege of office,” he continued. “That time has come.”

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