Well, that didn't take long. Oregon Democratic Rep. David Wu announced today that he would resign from Congress in the wake of sexual assault allegations. As Steven Benen at Political Animal sums it up, this is turning out to be the Worst Congress Ever:
Number of lawmakers in the 112th Congress who’ve resigned: Five.
Number of jobs bills voted on in the 112th Congress: Zero.
Wu says he will resign as soon as Congress passes a debt ceiling increase, which may mean never, but either way that leaves Oregon's 1st Congressional District open and up for grabs. But if you think Republican Party insiders are rejoicing at the news, think again. Wu, who'd already been the subject of conjecture and criticism due to his increasingly erratic behavior, had been seen as a vulnerable target in this otherwise safe Democratic district spanning parts of Portland and the surrounding counties. But his resignation all but hands the seat to popular, progressive, Democratic Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.
"This is very bad news for the Republican Party of Oregon," my friend Carla Axtman at Blue Oregon tells me. "Any hopes they had of taking this seat have now evaporated. Without Wu to run against, they have no game."
Wu was already facing a rare, tough Democratic primary challenge from Avakian, who raised a more than respectable $195,000 in the last quarter against the seven-term incumbent. Other Democrats might now jump in (hear that Rep. Kucinich? Another liberal Pacific Northwest seat just opened!), but it looks like it's Avakian's race to lose. That's good news for Oregon, and bad news for the GOP.