Secretary of State Field Getting Bigger: State Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland) has been juggling several choices for next year: a re-election bid for her House seat, running for Senate if state Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) retires, challenging Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (Williamson polled that possibility), or running for secretary of state, which will be an open seat. Sources say she will definitely run for SOS, joining Jamie McLeod Skinner and state Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) in the Democratic primary. Williamson did not respond to requests for comment.
Democrats Target Freddy's: Labor activism is on the rise nationally (the United Auto Workers are on strike) as well as locally (Oregon's higher-education workers and some Kaiser employees are nearing walkouts), but perhaps the most bitter standoff is between United Food & Commercial Workers Local 555 and Oregon's iconic grocer, Fred Meyer. They've been talking contract for 15 months, and UFCW OK'd a strike. What's unusual: The Democratic Party of Oregon is urging the state's 969,000 registered Democrats—about one-third of the state's adult population—to boycott the store chain. Democratic spokeswoman Molly Woon says the party often supports unions in labor disputes, but encouraging a boycott is rare. "We haven't sent out [such] a statement in recent memory," Woon says.
Mayor Moves Toward Re-election Bid: Mayor Ted Wheeler has taken his time re-enlisting for a job about which he has expressed ambivalence. Wheeler told the Portland Tribune in May he'd announce a decision after Labor Day, which was three weeks ago. Challengers Sarah Iannarone and Ozzie Gonzales are seeking support, but Wheeler still hasn't filed. He has, however, hired a campaign manager: Jennifer Arguinzoni, a member of his 2016 campaign and, until Sept. 16, director of strategic partnerships for his office.
Drunken Driving Scuttles Health Plan Partnership: Portland-based health plan manager Cambia Health Solutions has suspended its impending partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina after that nonprofit's CEO was charged with driving drunk while his children were in the car. Cambia says it will pause the partnership until the criminal case against Patrick Conway, who was to become Cambia's CEO, concludes. The Sept. 24 announcement came hours after The News & Observer in Raleigh revealed a video showing Conway's car weaving in interstate highway traffic for several miles before hitting a tractor-trailer. "Cambia Health Solutions and our board of directors are deeply troubled by the emerging details of the situation involving Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina's CEO," Cambia board chairman Mike Koppel and current CEO Mark Ganz said in a statement. Cambia announced in March it would partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield to oversee its six health plans covering 2.6 million patients.