UFCW’s Witt explores possible congressional race against Wu

Union member Brad Witt will form an exploratory committee as he considers a possible primary challenge to Congressman David Wu in Oregon’s 1st District.

A union representative for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 and a Democratic state rep in House District 31, Witt made the announcement April 30 at the Oregon Machinists Council’s (OMC) meeting.

Wu also spoke at the meeting.

“I’ve had some encouragement to run,” Witt said. “I want to take a good solid look at what the prospects are.”

Wu has been under media scrutiny since his re-election last November for erratic behavior prior to the election that led several key staff members to quit. Wu avowed having a bad reaction to painkillers and being under tremendous stress following the breakup of his marriage. He said he has sought professional help and that things are better.

“The 1st Congressional District deserves decent representation, solid representation. I don’t think that is happening right now,” Witt told OMC delegates.

Witt emphasized that his immediate priority is representing constituents in District 31, which stretches 90 miles along the Columbia River from Sauvie Island to Astoria. “But if polling shows a green light, I’ll have to lay some groundwork,” he said.

Witt said to have any chance he will need most of labor’s support. “This union (Machinists) has backed me in every single race I’ve been in, including secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO. If I don’t have your support, there is no reason for me to even think about it.”

Witt served as secretary-treasurer of the Oregon AFL-CIO for 14 years. He also was on staff at the Western Council of Industrial Workers (now the Carpenters Industrial Council).

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