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
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
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
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.