Former state Sen. Ryan Deckert (D-Beaverton), now the president of the Oregon Business Association, is considering challenging embattled U.S. Rep. David Wu in the 2012 Democratic primary. Deckertâs members, many of the stateâs largest employers, would form a solid base of financial support. His 10 years of legislative service (1997 to 2007) also make him a familiar face in the 1st Districtâs population center, Washington County. âIâm certainly exploring the idea and thinking hard about it,â Deckert says, adding he must first decide whether his family is ready for a challenging campaign. Then he must assess his chances against Wu and a Democratic field that already includes Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.
Speaking of Avakian, the commissioner for Oregonâs Bureau of Labor and Industries released a report this week that says he has raised more than $55,000 since announcing April 18 that he plans to challenge Wu. Earlier this month, Wu said he had far more than thatâabout $219,000. But Wu still carries about $50,000 in debt. And as Avakianâs backers note, only about $60,000 of Wuâs new money comes from Oregonians.
Several local media outlets and the secretary of stateâs office last week highlighted a new Tufts University survey of under-30 voter turnout in 2010, which showed Oregon first in the nation at about 35 percent. Turns out the widely cited survey was also wildly inaccurateâabout 50 percent above the actual percentage of under-30 voters who cast ballots. The actual turnout is about what Tufts found to be the national average. Scott Moore of Our Oregon, a group that registers young voters, acknowledges the survey is wrong but sees a silver lining: âWhat the numbers show is that more young Oregonians place a high value on voting than others do.â
CAROLE SMITHPortland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith this week introduced two versions of her proposed budget for the 2011-12 school year. One draft budget, for $431 million, depends on voter approval in May of a $59 million local-option levy. A second, less detailed version of the budget takes as its base a lower figure that doesnât include the new, bigger levy. PPS is banking on the levyâs passage, which is why the superintendent chose not to delve too deeply into what theyâre calling Plan B. âIf we donât need to have that conversation, letâs not,â says Matt Shelby, a spokesman for PPS.