Oregon Democratic consultant to enter Senate race

Democratic consultant Steve Novick will announce his candidacy for the seat of Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) on Wednesday, Novick told The Hill Friday. 

Novick will make the announcement in the state capital, Salem, before heading to Portland and Eugene later in the day. 

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A former Justice Department lawyer who has worked on environmental issues, he once prepared to run for Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) House seat but has no other experience as a candidate.

Novick has said he would yield should any Democratic members of the state’s House delegation or Smith’s 2002 opponent, Bill Bradbury, decide to run. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said recently that he would reluctantly consider a bid, after initially ruling it out, and appears to be the top choice of national and state Democrats. 

DeFazio said he would decide by next month. Blumenauer, who is also weighing a run, is deferring to DeFazio. 

A poll commissioned by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last month showed DeFazio beating Smith 42-38 in a head-to-head matchup. 

“He’d be a fabulous, tremendous candidate - there’s no question about it,” Novick said. “But we clearly can’t count on him to run.”