State Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin Will Seek Reelection, Pass on Race for DeFazio’s Seat

Two veteran lawmakers decide to stay in Salem rather than vie for a rare open congressional seat.

Congressional vacancies don’t occur often in Oregon, particularly in the 4th Congressional District, which U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) has represented since 1986.

When DeFazio, the longest-serving member of Congress in Oregon history, announced his retirement earlier this month, the opening attracted the attention of a number of elected officials.

But two of the senior state legislators in that district who considered trying to succeed DeFazio have now decided they’ll instead seek reelection to their own seats.

“Next week I file for re-election to OR Senate,” state Sen. Sara Gelser Blouin tweeted Dec. 27.

That announcement followed a similar decision from her colleague, state Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene).

“After much self-reflection and soul searching, I’ve concluded that I have unfinished work to complete on behalf of the people in my district,” Manning wrote on Facebook Dec. 17. “I have decided to seek reelection to my Senate seat and not pursue a run for Congress at this time.”

Both lawmakers would have risked relatively safe seats to run. Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle, who formerly represented Eugene in the Oregon House, is also up for reelection in 2022, but she has decided instead to seek DeFazio’s seat. She is likely to face Eugene-based Airbnb executive Andrew Kalloch, and probably others, in next May’s Democratic primary.