Exodus of top staff hits Oregon Congressman David Wu

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by Associated Press and KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on January 20, 2011 at 9:48 AM

PORTLAND -- Since winning a seventh term in Congress in November, Rep. David Wu has lost at least six staffers.

The departures were first reported in the Oregonian and KGW was able to reach most of Wu's staff who have left. They declined to speak specifically to the reason for their departure.

Wu's longtime chief of staff, Julie Tippens, has left, as well as communications director, Julia Krahe, both in Washington, D.C.

Wu also has lost nearly the entire political team that has been with the Democrat for more than a decade, including chief fundraiser, Lisa Kurdziel. Chief pollster Lisa Grove also left, according to the paper.

"For those people to kind of walk away and really make it very clear that they are walking makes everyone think that there is something wrong here," said Portland political strategist Len Bergstein.

The newspaper's report also made mention of a speech Wu once made on the floor of the House where he used Vulcans and Klingons from "Star Trek"  as a means of explaining political discourse.

He also caused a stir at Portland International Airport, moving into a secure area without prior screening.

In response to queries created by the Oregonian story, Wu issued a statement saying he has only the utmost esteem for every member of his staff.

“My staff is the best in the business, and I take great pride in following the professional growth of alumni of my office. Those that have recently left for new opportunities know of my gratitude for their service. I am fully confident in the talents and experience of my staff going forward, several of whom have served with me since my first years in congress. Oregonians can expect from my office nothing but the highest level of constituent service.”

Wu declined through his new spokesman Erik Dorey to comment further on Wednesday, citing time pressures from a House health care debate and a state dinner at the White House.

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