For all the venom directed at U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer last Sunday by antiwar, pro-impeachment Portlanders, the anger hasn't translated so far into any Democrat wanting to challenge the seven-term Oregon congressman in the May primary.
At a town hall meeting Sept. 23 at the Hollywood Theatre in Northeast Portland, Blumenauer sat silently as nearly 400 local activists and community members lashed out for 90 minutes on impeachment, the Iraq war, and other issues. The mood was unmistakable: Portlanders are mad about many of the Democrat's current positions.
He has consistently voted against the war. But the crowd wanted the congressman to commit to impeach President Bush or Vice President Cheney. And many also felt he hasn't done enough to bring the troops home—now.
"I would like to see some accountability, a voice representing Portland who is willing to stand up and say no," said one man in the audience.
But even as support for the Democratic Congress plunges as low as 11 percent in one national poll and other Dems like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi face challenges from antiwar candidates, Blumenauer shouldn't worry about his left flank in a Democratic primary.
"Blumenauer is not in any trouble," says Pacific University political science professor Jim Moore. "There just isn't any opposition out there."
Blumenauer's name recognition, $450,000-plus in his campaign account, and liberal voting record appear enough to forestall any serious challenge, says lawyer John Bradach, a leader in the local impeachment movement (see "The Reach to Impeach," WW , April 18, 2007).
Bradach, a longtime friend of Blumenauer's, says the congressman's failure to address impeachment has created a gap between him and many constituents. But Bradach, who attended the town hall, says Blumenauer faces no revolt because "he's got a strong connection with his district" otherwise. ?
FACT: Blumenauer captured 91 percent of the vote in the May 2006 Democratic primary and 74 percent in the November 2006 general election.