The bad news for Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) is that he’s drawing determined competition for his congressional seat this year. While primary challenger Dennis Linthicum, a conservative Klamath County commissioner, doesn’t have as big a war chest, he’s still managing to stir a divide in the ranks of GOP voters.

The good news for Walden may be found on the Democratic side, personified by the latest candidate to enter the fray. Bend businesswoman Aelea Christofferson announced her candidacy last week.

She stepped down from the board of Cover Oregon to run, telling Bend station KTVZ she wants to focus on affordable health care – and to fix what she called a broken Congress.

That raises an obvious question: Would the voters really trust a director of Cover Oregon to fix breakfast, let alone fix an institution as complex as Congress?

Of course, Oregon is a blue state, and politics is a strange realm. But this district has long leaned Republican, and Cover Oregon – with its high-profile fumbled rollout and continuing difficulties – seems like pretty big baggage for any candidate to carry. It also could be a gift for Walden in the campaign wrangling to come. – SC

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