Multnomah County Commission Vice Chair Diane McKeel has endorsed Portland businessman Brian Wilson for the board's vacant District 1 seat.

The endorsement is the first from a commission member for either Wilson or the only other candidate at this time, State Rep. Jules Bailey (D-Portland).

Bailey has already received a number of high-profile endorsements, including Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, City Commissioner Steve Novick, and former Gov. Barbara Roberts.

Although Wilson has no political experience, he has served as a volunteer on a several committees related to the county. They include the county's 2010 Charter Review Commission and a number of library levy committees. McKeel served with Wilson on a number of them.

Wilson announced the endorsement Thursday in an email which quoted McKeel as saying, "I've endorsed Brian in this race because he is a proven problem solver. Having worked on issues from bridges to libraries, Brain knows how to bring communities together to address tough issues. I look forward to working with him on the Commission."

Wilson responded by saying, "I am proud to announce the endorsement of County Vice-Chair Diane McKeel! I am honored by her support, and I pledge to continue working as hard as I can to win this election and join Vice-Chair McKeel on the board of commissioners to work together for the people of Multnomah County!"

Bailey is far ahead in the fundraising race, in part because he transferred surplus funds from his legislative campaign committee to his county campaign committee. Bailey currently has over $137,000 in the bank compared to under $20,000 for Wilson.

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