In a carefully worded email to supporters late Sunday night, state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian obliquely announced he will challenge U.S. Rep. David Wu in the 2012 Democratic primary for Oregon's 1st Congressional District.
"Over the past several months, I've heard from many leaders and citizens asking me to consider running for Congress - to give Northwest Oregon the tough, effective leadership that we need on Capitol Hill," Avakian's email read. "[Monday] morning at 10 am, I hope you'll join me at PCC Willow Creek. I'll be sharing my thoughts about the challenges facing our country, our state and our region - and what I intend to do, with your help, to meet those challenges."
Avakian's non-announcement announcement isn't entirely surprising. Last week, WW reported that Avakian, Oregon's elected commissioner for the Bureau of Labor and Industries, had assembled a political team, strongly suggesting a formal declaration was imminent.
Wu's financial report for the first quarter of 2011 became public record Friday. Wu, vulnerable after a series of troubling revelations about his behavior and his loss of staff, tried to say last week that his fundraising total ($172,000 in cash not including nearly $50,000 in debt) demonstrated "broad support and confidence" in the lawmaker's ability to serve Oregon.
But Avakian, who previously served in the Oregon House and Senate representing Washington County, apparently isn't scared off.