WashCo Commissioner Willey is coasting to Election Day
Washington County District 4 Commissioner Jerry Willey, running for re-election on the May ballot, is resting easy without any challengers declared against him.
Willey said he pared down his campaigning on March 9, the day after the filing deadline, once he saw he had no challengers.
"I stopped asking for contributions and have put out a few yard signs," Willey said in an email. "I put out the signs primarily so people in District 4 knew who their commissioner was and how to contact me."
The former Hillsboro mayor has raised nearly $16,000 in outside campaign contributions, with a range of support from the business community. Large contributions have come from Nike Inc., the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce PAC, Hampton Lumber, and the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors.
His single largest contribution came from Beaverton-based building supplier Baker Rock Resources, which sent Willey's campaign $10,000 on Nov. 8, 2021.
Willey says he's long supported economic development and business initiatives during his time in office, which is where his broad business support comes from.
"I have always been a strong advocate for business development and support," he said. "Economic development is why our economy in Washington County is so vibrant and it was my focus as mayor and again as a county commissioner."
In 2019, Willey pushed for the county to hire its first economic development director, creating a department dedicated to economic issues. He said this office has also been instrumental in doling out pandemic relief funds.
Willey is seeking a second term on the county's governing board. Two other prospectives candidates dropped out of the race before the filing deadline passed, so he's running unopposed.
Willey said that he tends to give excess campaign money to nonprofit organizations, rather than to other candidates — since donations are essentially a show of support for him and not necessarily other candidates.
However, with no challengers, he has some money to throw around, and Willey seems prepared to support candidates who he agrees with. His campaign finance committee has so far given $5,000 to the campaign of Beach Pace, the current Hillsboro city councilor who is challenging Kathryn Harrington for the seat of county chair.
Willey said he did so because of the documented reports of workplace harassment by Harrington.
Willey's committee has also given $5,000 to the campaign of Kevin Barton, seeking re-election to retain his position as Washington County district attorney.
"I agree with DA Barton's philosophy on prosecuting criminal activity," Willey said. "His opponent's proposal is consistent with the Multnomah County DA's Office, which, as we see daily, is not working. We want the public to feel safe and know that if you break the law, you will be arrested and prosecuted."
With no challengers, Willey is a virtual lock to be re-elected, though the ballot allows voters to write-in a preferred candidate if they don't want to vote for Willey. However, there has been no organized write-in campaign, and the voting period is more than halfway through.
Election Day is Tuesday, May 17, and ballots must be dropped off at an official ballot drop site or postmarked by 8 p.m. that day.
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