Strong Finish for Hardesty

City Council race goes to a November runoff

Danny Peterson | 5/17/2018, 3:01 p.m.
It’s certain that Portland will seat its first black female City Council member next year as the two top candidates ...
Activist and former state representative Jo Ann Hardesty (right) won nearly 46 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s May Primary election for a seat on the Portland City Council, falling short of the at least 50 percent plus one vote total needed to avoid a runoff. She will face Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith (left) in the November General Election. Smith finishing in second place captured about 21 percent of the primary vote.

Results from Tuesday’s May Primary Election means it’s certain that Portland will seat its first black female City Council member next year as the two top candidates in the race, Jo Ann Hardesty, who captured 46 percent of the vote, and Loretta Smith, with the second highest total of 21 percent, will face off in the November General Election.

Both are African-Americans and advanced from a field of six candidates in the election competing for the seat held by incumbent City Commissioner Dan Saltzman who is stepping down when his term ends in January.

In other local races, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury secured her bid for re-election by capturing 71 percent of the vote, far above the more than 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. New comer Susheela Jayapal, a former general counsel at Aidas America and longtime community volunteer, also won outright by capturing nearly 62 percent of the vote in the election for Multnomah County Commissioner for the seat being vacated by Smith.

Jayapal, who was born in India, was running against three others—construction business owner Sharon Maxwell, former restaurateur and veteran Bruce Broussard, and coffee shop owner Maria Garcia--all candidates of color. The victories by Kafoury and Jayapal’s are unofficial until 20 days after election day.

Turnout in Multnomah County was only about 31 percent, which was lower than statewide results and a smaller percentage than the 2014 Primary Election in which turnout was almost 33 percent. The number of ballots counted, however, was greater -- both in Multnomah County and the state -- because there is a bigger population now than in 2014 and a larger number of registered voters, due in part to the motor voter registration system that went into effect in 2016.

In southeast Portland, former state Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-Clackamas) captured 62 percent of the vote in a successful campaign to unseat incumbent state Senator Rod Monroe in the Democratic Party. The race has had a sharp focus on housing issues. Monroe netted just above 20 percent of the vote while the third candidate, Somali-born immigrant rights activist Kayse Jama, came in third.

Monroe who has been in public office since 1976, drew scrutiny from fellow Democrats for being a landlord that opposed tenant protections, such as overturning the statewide ban on rent control and outlawing “no-cause” evictions. He owns a 51-unit apartment complex in east Portland and has been sued by one of his tenants.

Both Fagan, a civil rights attorney, and Jama ran on a platform of giving cities the ability to impose rent control.

In statewide voting, gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler of Bend won the Republican Party nomination and will face off against incumbent Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, in November.