Republican congressman eyes Oregon districts

April 24, 2009

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Republican congressman from California, zipped through Lane County and Salem Friday in his quest to drum up candidates to run against Democratic Reps. Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader.

McCarthy told me in a phone call that he’s working hard to persuade Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken to run against DeFazio. McCarthy said he’s impressed by Leiken’s economic development work in Springfield and thinks DeFazio could be vulnerable to the right challenge.

“When you talk about job creation, health care, [Leiken] is a proven success,” said McCarthy, who runs candidate recruitment for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “I’m hopeful he’ll make the decision to come join us” in Washington.

He criticized DeFazio for supporting a budget that McCarthy said will drive the U.S. much deeper into debt and for supporting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on 96 percent of votes…

Leiken himself seems to be carefully waiting to see if DeFazio will run for governor, thereby opening up the 4th Congressional District seat. “I guess the big question is: ‘Will Peter DeFazio be the opposition?’ ” Leiken asked, according to Associated Press. “We don’t know. He’s made it clear he’s looking at other options as well.”…

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