Ryan narrowly defeats Smith in Portland City Council election
Dan Ryan narrowly defeated Loretta Smith in unofficial results for the Aug. 11 special Portland City Council runoff election early Wednesday.
Ryan had 51.1% of the vote compared to 47.9% for Smith in the most recent count. Write-in votes accounted for nearly 1%.
With several thousand votes yet to be counted, Ryan was leading Smith by a margin of 87,541 to 82,044 votes.
Speaking to reporters early Wednesday afternoon, Ryan said he was honored and humbled by his election, and will be ready to serve on day one. He expects to be sworn into office around Sept. 10 after the election results are certified.
"My focus is on bringing people together," said Ryan.
In response to questions, Ryan said that he will accept whatever City bureaus that Mayor Ted Wheeler assigns him, but that he strongly believes Portland's form of government is outdated and needs to be replaced by one where all bureaus are overseen by a professional manager.
"I believe there is consensus on that and the time is right," he said.
Ryan also said he supported the $15 million cut in the Portland Police Bureau budget recently approved by the council, but does not believe it should be reduced further without a plan for where the funds should be spent and how success would be measured.
Ryan said that he had reached out to Smith several time but had not heard back from he. He did not schedule the press conference until after local media outlets declared him the winner.
The election was held to fill the remainder of the term of the late Commissioner Nick Fish, who died of cancer in January. Ryan and Smith faced each other in the runoff election because they received the most votes in the crowded May 3 primary election. No candidate won outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote. In May, Smith received 18.8% and Ryan received 16.6%.
The current term expires at the end of 2022. Whoever wins or loses can run for a full term in that year's election.
Ryan is a longtime school advocate who served on the Portland Public Schools board and directed the nonprofit organization All Hands Raised.
Smith is a former two-term Multnomah County commissioner who previously worked for Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden.
Smith ran for the council in 2018 but was defeated by activist Jo Ann Hardesty in a personal race by Portland standards. Hardesty endorsed Ryan against Smith.
Because of Fish's death, four of the five council seats were up for election this year. Carmen Rubio, executive director of nonprofit Latino Network, won the race to succeed retiring Commissioner Amanda Fritz at the May primary election with 67.5% of the vote. Rubio's term begins in January.
The remaining two council races will be decided in runoffs at the November general election because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, who received 49.1%, is facing a challenge from Sarah Iannarone, who received 24%. Activist Teressa Raiford, who finished third with 8.5%, is running a write-in campaign.
And Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who received 31%, is running for re-election against Mingus Mapps, who received 29%.
The winners of those two elections also will begin their terms in January.
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