Portland voters selected two top candidates for mayor Tuesday. Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith will advance to a November run-off. Entrepreneur Eileen Brady came in a close third, but failed to pull through.
When the votes were in, the candidates with the most political experience -- and the least money -- got most of the votes.
Hales came on strong early, and held onto the lead. In this non-partisan contest, the top two winners advance to compete in a run-off election this fall. Hales credited classic campaign methods for his win.
Hales said, "All this work of going door-to-door and having hundreds of house parties has paid off."
Tallies through the evening showed Smith ahead of Brady. But it was a close enough contest that the two played a waiting game. Brady declined to concede until after 11 p.m.
Smith said he took a congratulatory call from Eileen Brady, and expected to take up some of the issues she championed during the race. He pointed that more voters may participate in the fall election.
Smith said, "Much of this city has yet to be heard from. In a primary election a huge number of people have yet to vote."
That means, he says, the issues most important to Portlanders have yet to be fully vetted.
Smith said, "Portland, Oregon needs much more than an election. I talked to a woman in my district whose daughter is moving to Arizona because she doesn't think she can afford her sewer and water bills."
Smith's election night party at an East Burnside nightclub boomed with a DJ's Bollywood music, and supporters enthusiastic shouts. Smith spoke of constituents and neighbors who've sought work for months.
Meanwhile, at Charlie Hales' Southeast Portland campaign office, Hales heartily thanked his supporters. Taking questions afterward, he declined to talk in overt terms about his strategy for the general election.
|Photos by John Rosman, Michael Kilman, Michael Clapp and Amanda Peacher/OPB News|
Hales said, "I'm not really thinking about the future contest yet. We'll have a good debate. In my case I bring a combination of ideas and experience in local government that I don't think he can match. Because I've made things happen in the city of Portland - not just talked about them. He and I have had a positive debate so far. I expect that to continue."
Brady, who played up her business experience in the campaign, called the race - with more than 50 appearances by the three leaders – an extraordinary conversation. She says there's still a lot of work to be done in the city.
Brady said, "There is a real opportunity to come together and take Portland to the next level, and I'm not sure what role I'm going to play in that."
She did not say whether she would endorse either of her former rivals.
Amanda Peacher and Allyson Will contributed to this story.