March 12th, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, Multnomah County

Collymore and Currie Racking up Endorsements in County Race

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Two of the candidates in the suddenly interesting Multnomah County commission District 2 race are racking up endorsements almost as quickly as former county Chair Ted Wheeler accepted the job of state treasurer this week.

The District 2 race to represent North and Northeast Portland was set off after Wheeler's decision prompted Commissioner Jeff Cogen to abandon his re-election bid in that district. Cogen decided instead on Tuesday to run for the county chair's job.

It's still very early in the game, but so far two candidates in the eight-person race to succeed Cogen stand out.

First there's Rev. Chuck Currie.

Chuck Currie

Currie, a United Church of Christ minister who's worked for more than 20 years on homeless and poverty issues in Portland, tells WW he has backing from former City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury and Bob Durston, who was chief of staff to former City Commissioner Erik Sten.

Perhaps most interesting, Currie also says he has the backing of Steve Novick, the unsuccessful 2008 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate who announced Tuesday he was running for Wheeler's seat, then dropped the idea hours later.

Currie also has a green-light approval rating from the pro-choice group NARAL.

And there's Karol Collymore.

Karol Collymore

Collymore — an aide to Cogen — of course has her boss's backing in the race to replace him as county commissioner.

Collymore also gained support from city Commissioner Dan Saltzman (whom Cogen once served as chief of staff), state Rep. Tina Kotek (D-North/Northeast Portland), state Rep. Brent Barton (D-Clackamas) and state Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Southwest Portland).

Collymore also has a green-light from NARAL.

But what's probably the biggest endorsement of all in this race is the powerful public-employee union AFSCME Local 88, which represents many of the county's 4,400 workers.

The candidates were invited to a forum at the union hall on Wednesday night. But even after several straw polls, the members did not coalesce behind a clear frontrunner.

As a result, the candidates were told Thursday morning that the union won't make an endorsement in the race — at least for now.
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