U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), often mentioned as a possible candidate to challenge Portland Mayor Sam Adams in 2012, dodged a question today at the City Club of Portland on whether he plans to run.
Instead of answering the question from a City Club member on whether he's considering a mayoral run, Blumenauer launched into a diatribe against the "corrosive" effects of nonstop political campaigns.
"This is not good for democracy to never let campaigns stop," Blumenauer told the crowd at the downtown Governor Hotel. "The last thing everyone at City Hall needs is to think I'm looking over their shoulder. ... I would do anything I can to help the City of Portland succeed."
Before he went to Congress, Blumenauer served on the City Council from 1987 until 1996. He suffered a crushing 57-42 percent defeat in 1992 in a mayoral run against Vera Katz, who went on to hire Adams as her chief of staff in the mayor's office.
One week ago, Adams received lukewarm applause when he told the City Club crowd after his State of the City speech that he hasn't decided whether to run for a second term.
In another sign some members of the influential civic group may wish Adams out of office, City Club Secretary Leslie Morehead also pointed out in a question today that Blumenauer has been tipped to run—though Morehead added she was not asking Bluemenauer directly whether he'll do so.
"Thank you, Leslie, for not asking that," Blumenauer said.
His response to Morehead's question—about how Blumenauer would promote alternative-transportation projects "as mayor of Portland or somebody who might be advising the next mayor"—received roaring applause from the crowd.
The bulk of Blumenauer's 40-minute speech focused on what America can do to fix the national budget and put the country back on a track for long-term growth. Blumenauer's bullet points included reforming health care, cutting the defense budget, fixing the tax code, trimming wasteful farm subsidies and adopting a performance-based approach to government regulation.
"If the heroes today in Egypt, Tunisia [and] Libya can use social-networking skills and courage to change established—and in some cases very violent—regimes, we might be able to overcome some special interests, some inertia and financial forces right here," Blumenauer said. "We can lead our own effort at transformation."