U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer to stand down at end of term

Allen Weinstein

Clad in his signature bowtie and bicycle lapel pin, Oregon’s U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer told a packed house of supporters on Monday, Oct. 30, that he will not seek reelection.

His current term ends in 2024.

“For 50 years, I have served in elected office at every level — as a state legislator, Multnomah County commissioner, Portland City Council member, and as a member of Congress,” he wrote Monday on his Facebook account. “I will not seek reelection in 2024.”

He joked at Monday evening’s gathering at Polaris Hall on North Killingsworth Street that his long career came about by craftily keeping “the people who support me away from the people who really know me.”

As of early Tuesday, no obvious heir presumptive has stepped up to announce running for Oregon’s Congressional District 3, which includes Portland and the west side of the metro area, including much of Clackamas County.

Several legislators and county commissioners were on hand for the Monday event, and speculation ran rampant in the crowded hall as to who will run for the rare, open Oregon congressional seat.

Blumenauer was elected to CD3 in 1996 to fill a seat vacated by Ron Wyden, who left to join the Senate. The seat is considered solidly Democratic by the Cook Political Report and is expected to stay in Democratic hands.

“It was a difficult decision to not run for re-election,” Blumenauer said in a press release. “Particularly after the amazing successes of the last several years. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made.”

Blumenauer co-chairs and created the Congressional Bike Caucus, which advocates for funding for nationwide bike infrastructure. Several people at Monday’s event sported his signature, brightly colored bicycle lapel pins in his honor.

Blumenauer sits on the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries told Politico, “Earl has been a fierce protector of our public lands, a staunch advocate for cannabis reform and a champion for livable communities where every family can thrive…. Earl and his bicycle pins will be greatly missed after the conclusion of this term, and I wish him and his family the best as he begins this next chapter.”

Outside the Polaris Hall, several protesters showed up to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, where the Israel Defense Forces have staged three weeks of retaliatory strikes after Hamas fighters invaded Israeli communities, killing civilians and taking hostages.

On his Facebook post, Blumenauer wrote, “I deeply appreciate and thank you for putting your trust in me. I look forward to our next chapter.”

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