Republican slate narrowing as race gets closer to Aug. 15 filing deadline

Hillsboro Republican Katie Eyre Brewer told the News-Times Wednesday afternoon that she won't run for the Republican nomination for Oregon's first congressional district.

"Now is not the right time," Eyre Brewer said. Instead, the freshman state representative said she'll focus on her work in the legislature.

The announcement is the latest in a string of potential GOP candidates that have decided against running for the open seat vacated by Congressman David Wu amid a sex scandal last month.

That list includes Hillsboro lawmakers Sen. Bruce Starr and State Rep. Shawn Lindsay and Portland businessman Rob Miller. All three men have endorsed Rob Cornilles, who lost to David Wu in last year's congressional race, but is emerging as the frontrunner in an uncrowded race for the Republican nomination.

Jim Moore, who teaches political science at Pacific University, said with no incumbent in place, the first congressional seat is a rare opportunity for the GOP to make a strong showing at the polls. But the party still faces an uphill battle.

"The Republicans need higher profile candidates, more registered voters, and a large infusion of money to introduce the candidates to the electorate," Moore said.

While the GOP primary fight seems to be settling down, the fight for the Democratic primary is heating up. Last week, State Senator Suzanne Bonamici jumped into the race and announced she'd raised $240,000 for the run.

That put her and Brad Avakian, who announced he would challenge Wu before the congressman resigned, at a potential dead heat in fundraising. State Rep. Brad Witt says his fundraising is competitive with Avakian and Bonamici's numbers, but won't disclose totals.

"Bonamici has an immediate infusion of cash," MOore said. "So that could be an advantage. Other than that, unless she lines up a pretty impressive list of major endorsements, she has no advantage over Avakian. She is even more unknown than he is within CD1."

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