Portland City Council candidate Jo Ann Hardesty has snagged an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer.
Blumenauer, who represents Portland, Gresham and the Mount Hood area, said he believes Hardesty will be a strong advocate for underserved and diverse East Portland neighborhoods in his district.
“I have watched that area, watching how hard it has been to get the attention, the energy and the resources out there, and she’s focused like a laser,” Blumenauer said.
Blumenauer served on Portland’s city council from 1987 to 1996. He’s relatively late to make an endorsement in the race, with just a month left before the election.
The two women serving on the Portland City Council, commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Amanda Fritz, have also endorsed Hardesty, as did Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek.
Hardesty’s opponent, Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, is backed by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden. Smith worked for Wyden for two decades, most recently as his Multnomah County field representative.
Smith has also been endorsed by all of Oregon’s sitting black state legislators: state Sens. Lew Frederick, James Manning and Jackie Winters and Rep. Janelle Bynum. They cited her track record of successful advocacy for communities of color in Oregon.
The candidate who wins will be the first African-American woman to serve on the Portland City Council in its 167-year history.