Top GOP Challenger Drops House Bid
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 01:48:09 PM EST
Republicans got to work early in 2009 to recruit Springfield, Oregon mayor Sid Leiken to challenge incumbent Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio, who represents a swing district that split its 2004 presidential vote equally between George W. Bush and John Kerry (though backed Barack Obama in 2008 fairly handily in 2008). At the time, Leiken was promoted as one of the top recruits of the National Republican Congressional Committee. But now comes news, via Blue Oregon, that Leiken is dropping his congressional bid.
Initially lauded by Republicans nationally as their best hope to win a House seat long held by Democrats, Leiken faced an uphill battle against DeFazio, a 24-year incumbent. Leiken did poorly in campaign fundraising; as of the most recent filings, DeFazio had at his disposal more than 100 times Leiken’s campaign cash.
Plus, observers said Leiken’s violation of Oregon campaign laws last year could have hurt him. Leiken paid a $2,250 fine for unlawfully converting $2,000 of his mayoral campaign money to personal use.
If this were a Democrat dropping his bid against a Republican in a swing district, you know that this news would be all over the Beltway press as further proof that the Democrats' are sinking in the race to control the House in November. Of course this is a Republican dropping his bid against a Democrat in a swing district, so this news is absent from the home pages of Politico.com, TheHill.com, and CQPolitics.com.