Hardesty race heats up in Portland Oregon before final results
Portland City Commission Jo Ann Hardesty signaled she is ready to fight against whichever challenger finishes second in the May 2022 primary election.
With some votes still to be counted, Hardesty is apparently being forced into a runoff in the November 2022 general election with 41% of the vote on Wednesday, May 18.
She will face either businessman and lawyer Rene Gonzales with 24.2% of the vote or administrative law judge Vadim Mozyrsky with 23.4%. Whoever finishes in second place when the results are finalized will appear with Hardesty on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Hardesty's campaign issued a statement taking shots at both Gonzales and Mozyrsky Wednesday morning. It characterized them as "more conservative" than her and said one "is backed by hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside spending."
That candidate is Mozyrsky. He was supported by Portland United, an independent political action funded primarily by downtown business interests. It reported spending $184,174 to support him by election day.
Such committees are legal, including those supporting candidates like Mozyrsky, who participated in the city's Small Donor Program that matches small donations with public funds. They cannot coordinate with the candidates they support, however.
In fact, Hardesty herself benefited from a $20,000 independent expenditure by the Portland Association of Teachers, even though she is also participating in the program.
Gonzales is also participating in the program and has not received any reported support from another political action committee.
In the statement, Hardesty's campaign noted she had so far received 15% more votes than either Gonzales or Mozyrsky.
"She led a strong grassroots campaign that engaged thousands of Portlanders for the future of our city," the statement said.
Although that is true, together they have so far received nearly seven percentage points more than Hardesty — 47.6% compared to her 41%.
"We have been encouraged by the initial results and remain optimistic about our chances about moving on to a runoff in the fall. We see the high turnout in this race, and Commissioner Hardesty's relatively poor showing for an incumbent, as clear signs that we can build a coalition to win in November. We look forward to bringing people together toward a common goal: restoring Portland's livability," Gonzales said in a Wednesday morning statement.
"We are waiting optimistically for every vote to be counted and thank all of the people at the elections office for all of their work," Mozyrsky said in a Wednesday morning statement.
Hardesty's percent is also five points before the 46% she received in the May 2018 primary election. She went on to defeat former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, who finished in second place, in the November 2018 general election.
Multnomah County elections officials said there were still around 40,000 ballots to be counted. In addition, mail-in ballots postmarked by election day will be counted if their arrive within a week of May 17.
Turnout is historically much higher in general elections. Portland liberals may also be energized by the Oregon governor's race which will pit a pro-life Republican yet to be finalized against two pro-choice women, Democrat Tina Kotek and nonaffiliated former state Sen. Betsy Johnson.
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