Mozyrsky concedes, doesn't endorse in Portland City Council race
Portland City Council candidate Vadim Mozyrsky conceded defeat on Monday, May 23, in the race to unseat incumbent Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty but did not endorse her or her runoff opponent Rene Gonzalez.
Mozyrsky said he will meet with his campaign staff and the two candidates in coming weeks before deciding whether to endorse either of them.
Hardesty is open and encouraged to meet with Mozyrsky.
"We want to appreciate Vadim Mozyrsky for his campaign and continued public service. Our democracy is stronger with robust civic engagement. May we find new ways to work together on behalf of all Portlanders," Hardesty said in a statement released by her campaign.
Gonzalez Tweeted that Mozyrsky had notified him about his concession in advance but did not comment about any possible meeting.
"Vadim called a short time ago to congratulate on the primary campaign we ran and to concede.
Vadim is a solid, thoughtful, and committed Portlander; we will need his help in restoring and protecting livability in the city.
On to the runoff!" Gonzalez said.
Hardesty finished in first place in unofficial May 17 primary election results with 43.76% of the vote. But she likely will have to take her campaign to the November general election because she appears not to have received more than 50% of the vote. Votes are still being tallied.
Hardesty in November will face Gonzalez, a lawyer and business owner, who received 23.1% of the vote. He edged out Mozyrsky, an administrative law judge, who received 22.26% of the vote.
No other candidate received more than 4% of the vote.
Despite the close percentages, Gonzalez is more than 1,350 votes ahead of Mozyrsky with nearly all the ballots counted.
During the primary, Mozyrsky was supported by the independent Portland United political action committee that was largely backed by the business community. It has reported raising $362,260 by election day, with approximately three-quarters targeted for Mozyrsky. Asked if the contributions and spending helped or hurt him, Mozyrsky said he did not see any signs of the committee aside from an ad for him on the committee's website. He suggested that news reports of the committee raising $700,000 to support him might have hurt his chances, however.
During the primary, Mozyrsky and Gonzalez criticized Hardesty for pushing the City Council to cut the Portland Police Bureau budget by $15 million during the social justice protests following the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by the Minneapolis police.
Portland Police cuts included disbanding the Gun Violence Reduction Team, which had repeatedly been accused of disproportionately focusing on the Black community. Shootings and homicides have surged since the team was disbanded. Mozyrsky and Gonzalez charged the cuts contributed to the increases, which Hardesty denied, noting that shootings have increased in many cities over the past two years.
Hardesty, Gonzalez and Mozyrsky all participated in the city's Small Donor Program that matches small contributions with public funds. By election day, Gonzalez reported raising the most money, $335,207. Hardesty was in second place with $291,128 and Mozyrsky was third with $232,404.
The Portland Association of Teachers also paid $20,000 for a mailing supporting Hardesty.
No other candidate raised more than $2,435.
Hardesty was first elected to the council in the November 2018 election when she defeated former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith with 61.8% of the vote. The two finished first and second in the May primary election but neither received more than 50% of the vote to win it outright. The seat had been held previously by former Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who did not run for reelection.
The election happened as recent polls show a record high percentage of voters believe the city is headed in the wrong direction and elected leaders are not solving the biggest problems, including homelessness and crime.
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