Former House Speaker Dave Hunt (D-Gladstone) has a big decision to make.
Hunt's seat—which he has held since 2002—is safe if he wants to keep it next year. But the 2009 speaker of the Oregon House lost his gavel last year to Rep. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay), and last month got pushed out of his Democratic majority leader's position by Rep. Tina Kotek (D-North Portland).
So Hunt, 43, who works for an association of ports when not legislating, faces the prospect of returning to being just a rank-and-file member after being the Legislature's most powerful figure two years ago.
Or, he could run for two spots on next year's ballot: Commissioner of Bureau of Labor and Industries; or Clackamas County chair. Hunt says he's mulling all three options but has not yet decided what he'll do.
"I am exploring pretty openly several possibilities including running for my current house seat, BOLI and the Clackamas County Commission," Hunt told WW. "I'm exploring all three and doing a lot of listening."
The possibility that the 2009 speaker could voluntarily leave the Legislature for either two less visible positions is an indication of the upheaval in the House Democratic caucus. If he chooses to not to seek re-election, Hunt will follow the 2009 House majority leader, Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Southwest Portland) who is running for Portland City Council, out of the caucus.
While both clashed with some colleagues and suffered setbacks in caucus elections, they were also both prodigious fundraisers. Their absence will put added pressure on Roblan and Kotek, who do not have the experience dialing for dollars that Nolan and Hunt possess. One added challenge: Democrats have not yet replaced Michelle Rossolo, who stepped down as head of Future Pac, the caucus' political arm, after a rocky 2010 election cycle.