Oregon: GOP Recruiting Leiken to Challenge DeFazio

Posted March 16, 2009 at 6:28pm

Although 12-term Rep. Peter DeFazio (D) hasn’t had to sweat re-election for many election cycles, Republicans are actively recruiting Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken (R) to run against him, according to sources in Washington, D.C., and Beaver State political blogs.

Springfield is the second biggest city in the southwest Oregon 4th district, and Republicans argue that Leiken’s success in a relatively Democratic enclave proves he could have plenty of appeal in the swing district.

Leiken was a bank executive and also worked for his company’s development company.

President Barack Obama bested Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) by 11 points in the district in 2008, according to unofficial results, but the White House election was considerably closer in 2004 and 2000.

DeFazio, who resisted entreaties to run for the Senate in 2008, had $363,000 in his campaign account as of Dec. 31.