Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Southwest Portland) is running for something—and it's probably not the legislative seat she has held for six sessions.
While the Legislature is in session, members refrain from raising money. But lawmakers finished their 2011 business yesterday at 2:50 pm and today state filings show Nolan reported 12 contributions totaling $6,950. That's a pretty nice haul, especially considering none of her other legislative colleagues reported a single contribution.
So what's Nolan up to? She's not saying yet. But she's probably not sweating her re-election chances, considering she defeated her Republican opponent last year 79 percent to 21 percent and is unlikely to face any stiffer test next year, should she seek to hold onto her seat (House members must run every two years).
A safer bet is that Nolan, who in 2009 served as House majority leader and before that served as the co-chair of the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee, is ready to move on. She did not seek any caucus office in yesterday's elections and has been talking to political insiders (although not reporters) about the possibility of challenging incumbent Commissioner Amanda Fritz next year. And one benefit of Oregon's lax campaign finance laws—Nolan can roll her legislative campaign funds into a city race if she chooses.