Brad Avakian, the elected commissioner for Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries, has hired a political adviser from Grant Park Strategies.
Avakian's choice of campaign strategist is significant because it strongly suggests an announcement may be imminent about his plans to challenge U.S. Rep. David Wu in next year's Democratic primary.
Grant Park Strategies is the relatively new political operation led by Josh Kardon, the former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The Portland-based consulting firm also includes Jake Weigler, the experienced campaign manager for Wyden's 2010 Senate re-election and the adviser behind Steve Novick's upstart Democratic primary bid in 2008 for the party nomination to challenge then-U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.). Although Novick lost that primary, his campaign against fellow Democrat Jeff Merkley came closer than many expected.
Weigler today confirmed he is advising Avakian, a former state lawmaker from Washington County whose name first surfaced as a possible challenger just days after news of Wu's erratic behavior first surfaced.
What happens next in Avakian's camp may depend on Wu's recent fundraising efforts. Wu's crucial quarterly financial report for the first part of 2011 will be made public this Friday April 15. Unless Wu raises several hundred thousand dollars, it's unlikely the embattled incumbent from Oregon's 1st Congressional District will be able to ward off potential big-name Democratic challengers like Avakian.
Avakian did not immediately respond to a request for comment.