Portland mayor: On the city itself

Could Portland Mayor Sam Adams have won a second term next year? That would fall into the category of a tough call. After the scandal (a personal relationship denied during his 2008 campaign but brought to light soon after) at the start of his term, he was called on for resignation and two recall attempts, with some real support, were tried. On the other hand, those recall efforts failed to come close to getting the needed number of petition signatures – some indicator that the idea didn’t have the requisite appeal broadly across Portland.

Which isn’t the same thing as choosing to re-elect. Adams also would have had a record to run on, but also to defend. Parts of it have been highly controversial (the loss of baseball, for example) and the opposition certainly has racked up. There’s also the little-noticed point that his closest Council ally, Randy Leonard, is also opting out next year, and that would have left Adams essentially alone to defend an incumbency position.

All of which is of course moot now, since Adams declared on Friday that he would not run for a second term. After running through some of the highlights of his administration, he says this:

We have a lot more work to do, which brings me squarely to my future plans.

I am under no illusion of how challenging the race for re-election would be. I’ve been in tough elections before; nobody thought I could win my city council race in 2004. But I believe for me to win re-election as mayor, I would need to fundraise and campaign full-time, starting now.

As I have considered the reality of a possible re-election effort, I have come to the conclusion that I have a choice: Move this agenda forward, or campaign full-time for re-election.

With the state of our nation in such flux, and so many local issues needing focused and hands-on mayoral leadership, for me, the choice is clear.

My best service to Portland will be to complete the platform of change and improvement you elected me to deliver: Creating jobs, increasing the high school graduation rate, and making Portland the most sustainable city, with the most equal of opportunities. This work is well underway, and I’m committed to making every day of the next 17 months count. Thus, I will not seek re-election.

Each day—supported by my partner, Peter, and my family—I wake up feeling blessed to have the opportunity to serve as your mayor. It is, without a doubt, the best job in the world.

The remark was made by some people who know Adams well that he loves the job he has now. (And the idea of moving up further in politics, once highly realistic, probably is foreclosed now.) the decision couldn’t have been easy. But, as a number of people (and by the Oregonian) have said, it does allow the campaign to come to focus on the city of Portland more than on Sam Adams.

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