Just days before the midterms and in the throes of a tough re-election campaign, Rep. David Wu (D-OR) was behaving so strangely that staffers staged multiple interventions and requested he check into a psychiatric hospital, The Oregonian and Willamette Week reported on Friday. Staffers went so far as to make inquiries about the availability of beds in Portland and Washington.
Several staff members confronted Wu for the final time on Oct. 30. Wu’s psychiatrist was brought into that meeting as well, joining the group at the Portland campaign headquarters by speaker phone. The meeting was held after four consecutive days of troubling behavior that led the staff to agree that Wu needed a higher level of medical care, according to people intimately familiar with the events of that period.
In the months leading up to the election, Wu’s behavior turned increasingly erratic. In October, he gave an aggressive speech that resulted in a formal complaint from a Washington County Democratic Party member. Two days later, he used his political clout to violate security rules at a Portland airport.
The final straw for his employees appears to be a series of incoherent emails reportedly sent from Wu’s work account to female staffers in the wee hours of Oct. 30. Many of them were written as though from his children, signed with their names. Sources interviewed by The Oregonian said they believed they were sent by Wu. He also forwarded a picture of himself smiling and dressed in a tiger costume, ostensibly for Halloween.
Since Wu’s re-election, six senior staffers as well as his chief fundraiser and pollster have quit working for him. He declined to be interviewed for The Oregonian article, sending a written statement that said, in part, that he was “not always at my best with staff or constituents” and that he had sought “professional medical care.”