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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Endorsements Show Split in Mayoral Candidates

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 9:59 AM

One problem I've heard from people who are still undecided in the mayor's race is that the candidates are just too damn similar. What, neither of the Democrat white guys with extensive political backgrounds and a love of dance and trust issues suits your fancy? TOO BAD.

But one place where the candidates have actually clearly split is in endorsements. Jefferson Smith has lined up the support of major environmental groups in the city. In August, Smith snagged the support of the Sierra Club and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. He'd already got the nod from Bike. Walk. Vote.. He's also got the backing of unions representing government employees, like AFSCME, but no public endorsements from any individuals higher-up politically than state representatives and outgoing City Commissioner Randy Leonard.

Hales, meanwhile, has lined up support from some of the state's major established politicos. Last week, former governor Ted Kulongoski endorsed Hales, adding to a list that includes powerful old-schoolers like former mayor Vera Katz and former secretary of state Bill Bradbury and construction-friendly unions like the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters and the local Teamsters Council.

The split we're seeing develop here is environmental advocates backing Jefferson and more pro-construction and development interests backing Hales. Part of the reason for the divergence is the undoubtedly the Columbia River Crossing. While both candidates have come out against the current proposed project, Smith has been actively campaigning on being more against the bridge than Hales. The Sierra Club called that out in their endorsement and it's likely in making the construction unions opt for the candidate they think is more likely to back the region's largest transportation project.

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