● A primary will be held in Oregon on November 8, followed by a special election next January 31, for the position in the House of Representatives once held by David Wu. The 1st district, which includes Astoria, Cannon Beach, McMinnville, and parts of urban Portland, has been a safe Democratic seat. Mr. Wu resigned from Congress on August 3 when his continued public service became politically untenable due to bad personal behavior.

● Every August, Congressional aides escape Washington, D.C., and travel back to their political chief’s district or state to hear the latest advice and concerns from constituents on the ground. Two examples of such annual summer forays are separate visits to our office planned over the next few weeks by Paul Wolfe, an aide to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, and by Kate Woods, who works for U.S. Representative Doc Hastings.

● A Congressional race brewing in Iowa provides an example of the intense partisan atmosphere in Washington, D.C. Representative Steve King’s most prominent challenger for reelection next year is Christie Vilsack, the wife of the current USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Mr. King, a high profile Republican, is a member of the House’s Agriculture Committee. Normally, one would not expect a spouse of a cabinet officer to run against a member of the committee with jurisdiction over that cabinet officer’s programs. And today? USDA Secretary Vilsack is in Peosta, Iowa, with President Obama’s “Rural Tour 2011.”

POLITICAL FRUIT: “’Take a look at his record

[Mitt Romney’s] when he was governor, take a look at my record,’[Rick] Perry said. ‘That’s apples to apples.’ Perry, who was campaigning at the Iowa State Fair on Monday also drew a distinction between running a business and running a state—‘That’s apples to oranges,’ he said.” ABC News’ The Note, August, 15, 2011.