May 18th, 2010 | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall

Jesse Cornett on Jesse Cornett: "Meh. Probably Not."

Jesse Cornett's election party May 18

Just after the initial results in the City Council race for Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman's seat came in at 8 pm, publicly financed challenger Jesse Cornett was nowhere to be found at his own election-night party. He was "hiding," he said when I caught up with him later.

Those first results showed Saltzman avoiding a runoff by getting well over 50 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, Cornett was in fourth place behind candidates Mary Volm and Rudy Soto, a recent Portland State University graduate whose most visible campaign moment appears to have been limited to his short-lived complaining about Saltzman's ethics.

Since Cornett wasn't in the mood for talking as the first results trickled in, I hightailed it a few blocks to Volm's party at Madison's Grill, where the first words I heard coming from the upstairs balcony around 8:15 pm from Volm were "Party on!"

"I'm very proud I'm second with such little money," Volm told her supporters.

Mary Volm at her election party May 18

Spencer Burton, another one of Saltzman's eight challengers, attended both Cornett's and Volm's parties. I asked him to compare the two parties. "This is probably a little more festive, a little more lively," Burton said.

Spencer Burton at Mary Volm's party

At 7:30 pm before the first returns came in, Cornett had predicted "there will probably be a runoff." By just after 9 pm when I caught up with Cornett, the candidate acknowledged his publicly financed campaign probably was not successful. "Meh," Cornett said while sipping a Deschutes beer. "Probably not."

Cornett's campaign gained some traction two weeks ago after he accused Saltzman of an ethical breach because in 2009 Saltzman voted to award a Children's Levy grant to an organization where his girlfriend works as a fundraiser.

Cornett, of course, was the only one of Saltzman's eight challengers to qualify for $145,000 in public campaign financing, a five-year-old system that goes to Portland voters for final approval in November.
 
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