Wu's Woes Now Include Primary Challenger

Congressman David Wu (left) has a new political worry – a Democratic primary challenger, State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, who has electoral experience and a statewide platform.Oregon First District Congressman David Wu has had a year he would like to forget and now may be facing a year he wish he could avoid with a formidable Democratic challenger.

State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian announced his candidacy today, more than a year before the May 2012 primary, giving him plenty of time to swing away at Wu, as well as tout his own credentials. He is a former state senator whose district straddled Washington and Multnomah counties, where a Democrat must score big to win the seat.

Avakian also has shown himself adept in his current post of attracting publicity, most of it positive. Wu has gotten a lot of ink, too, most of it not so positive. The Oregonian has been especially relentless on his case.

Avakian may not be the only fellow Democrat to challenge Wu. State Rep. Brad Witt, who has a background in organized labor, has expressed interest, as have a handful of others who sense Wu's political vulnerability.

According to campaign records, Wu anticipated another serious Republican challenger and has hit the trail early raising funds for his 2012 re-election bid. But records show he has a lingering debt from last year's campaign. The beleaguered congressman also has to replace his campaign staff, which quit after he was re-elected last November.

It is too early to tell whether Wu is actually in political hot water. He won election over a credible GOP challenger by a comfortable margin. But post-election coverage has been a nightmare for Wu. With Avakian and maybe others in the race, Wu's nightmare just keeps getting scarier.