For Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, elections have been about as suspenseful as a sunrise.

You know what's coming.

A Walden win. A big Walden win.

Walden, the Republican from Hood River who represents the state's vast 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses all of Oregon east of the Cascades, was elected in 1998 with 61 percent of the vote. Democrat Kevin Campbell pulled in about 35 percent.

Not exactly competitive, but none of Walden's other Democratic rivals has come as close as Campbell did nine years ago.

In the 2000 election, Walden's first as an incumbent, he received 74 percent of the votes. In the three subsequent elections Walden garnered 72 percent, 72 percent and 67 percent.

We think Walden has earned that sort of support.

He has been an effective representative for his district on important matters such as forest health and federal payments to cash-strapped counties.

Still, we think 2nd District voters would be better served if the Democratic Party could put up a more imposing foe against the Walden juggernaut.

So would Walden.

Although we don't believe Walden has ever shortchanged his constituents, or become complacent because he feels his political position is impregnable, we're equally certain that he would benefit if he had to campaign against a candidate who truly challenged him.

A competitive campaign could prompt Walden to review his positions on vital issues and, perhaps, to consider changes that would help his district.

If nothing else, the 2008 2nd District race would certainly be more interesting if it the outcome didn't seem preordained.