It is unusual but not unheard of that two sitting legislators — a House Democrat and a Senate Republican — are facing stiff primary challenges. Even more unusual, both could lose in the May election.
Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, a member of the building trades, often parts company with his more liberal Democratic colleagues, as well as public employee labor organizations, such as SEIU and AFSCME.
Plus, last summer at a labor convention, he got into trouble when a female lobbyist claimed he groped her breast. Schaufler called it "innocent horseplay." House Democrats took the incident seriously and stripped Schaufler of the chairmanship of House Business and Labor Committee.
Now many of Schaufler's Democratic colleagues are backing his primary opponent, Portland teacher Jeff Reardon, who has never run for political office before.
Here's the way Oregonian political reporter Jeff Mapes described the high-stakes and money-laden Schaufler-Reardon race:
The newly detailed disclosure reports show that — if money is indeed the mother's milk of politics — two incumbent legislators face tough reelection races. In a House district including parts of Southeast Portland and Clackamas County, six Democratic legislators took the rare step of writing campaign checks aimed at taking out one of their own colleagues, Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley. The six lawmakers wrote checks totaling more than $10,000 for high school teacher Jeff Reardon's race against Schaufler, who has departed from Democratic orthodoxy on some issues and also lost a committee co-chairmanship following a flap about his behavior at a labor convention. 'There's always a risk when you do something like this,' said Portland Senator Ginny Burdick, who gave $1,500 to Reardon. Portland Senator Chip Shields gave Reardon $5,000. Schaufler, who has released his own list of legislators endorsing him, continues to have strong support from several business and labor groups and maintains a fundraising lead over Reardon.
The other incumbent under fire is Senator Chris Telfer, R-Bend. She was surprised to learn just before the candidate-filing deadline that former representative Tim Knopp, now executive director of the Central Oregon Homebuilders Association, decided to run against her.