Our sense of the Portland mayoral race, up to this point, has been that probably it wasn't going to be much of a race . . . only to be gradually shaken from that complacency. Maybe a little like four years ago.
Back then, when the seat was also open due to the retire of an incumbent (then Vera Katz, now Tom Potter)there was a guy named Jim Francesconi, who was a member of the city council, well-known and mostly well regarded in town. He amassed loads of prominent endorsees and a huge campaign budget, and he was better known than any of the 20-plus other contenders. Looked like a slam dunk. Except that it didn't turn out that way. The mega-campaign actuallybackfired, and a likable challenger, the former police chief Potter, came within shooting distance in the primary and beat Francesconi decisively in the general.
This cycle, no sooner had Potter opted out - literally no sooner than - City Councilman Sam Adams roared in as something approaching mayor-in-waiting. His odds have looked awfully good. He is a finely-skilled candidate, a good organizer and doubtless has plenty of bucks in the bank. So we've been wondering about how much attention sh0uld be paid (regular, even heavy-duty, coverage in the Willamette Week and Mercury notwithstanding) to the seeming insurgent candidacy of businessman Sho Donozo. (Some of that has been negative in tone, concerning questions - now apparently resolved - about Donozo's campaign finances.)
Unless, of course, you bear in mind Portland political history. And the endorsement out today from Mayor Potter.
Not that the endorsement itself is a major electoral lever; hardly any endorsements for any office really are. But it does seem an indicator that Donozo is punching some significant buttons and it could be an indicator that anyone in the city displeased with something in the record of Council member Adams might now have a designated opponent to support. Or at least the potential is there for a replay of four years ago.
Of the race between Potter and, uh . . .