Staff confronted Congressman over concerns about his mental health

Since the November election, U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., has lost at least six staffers plus the leadership of a veteran campaign team that guided him to a seventh term amid complaints about his public behavior.

In this image provided by the Willamette Week newspaper, and taken Oct. 2, 2010 in Portland, Ore, U.S. Rep. David Wu is seen in a tiger costume. (AP Photo/Willamette Week)

The exodus includes Wu’s longtime chief of staff, Julie Tippens, and communications director, Julia Krahe, both in Washington, D.C. Krahe left without securing a job while Tippens took a similar position with a lawmaker with far less seniority.

In addition, Wu has lost virtually his entire political team — people who have been with the Democrat for more than a decade — including his chief fundraiser, Lisa Kurdziel, and chief pollster, Lisa Grove, who told The Oregonian she wouldn’t work for him again.

“It is highly unusual for successful campaigns to change teams after the election,” said Michael Meehan, a veteran Democratic consultant who was a senior adviser to Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.

Wu declined to be interviewed for this story but in a written statement praised his employees. “I have only the utmost esteem for every member of my staff, present and past,” he wrote.

But the staff departures come amid questions about Wu’s behavior during the campaign. On Oct. 27, he gave a speech so negative and loud that a Washington County Democratic Party member complained formally to his office.

The outburst was followed two days later by an episode at Portland International Airport, where Wu used his influence as a member of Congress to enter a restricted area and campaign for votes from off-loading passengers. One passenger filed a complaint, and a Transportation Security Administration employee was later required to be retrained for his lapse in letting Wu past security.

Read the Rest at  OregonLive.com.

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