February 4th, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, Multnomah County

The Cogen Race: No Contest in MultCo? (Plus 'Shocking' Photos!)

Jeff Cogen

Since Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen launched his re-election bid last month, we'd like to point out that no one has filed to run against him. We'd also like to show you some hilarious photos (more on that in a sec).

The lack of opponents is perhaps surprising, given all the political hopefuls who bubbled up out of the first-term county commissioner's North/Northeast Portland district last year for an opening in the state Legislature. Then again, it's always easier to seek an open seat rather than challenge an incumbent.

Back then there was a flurry of activity after longtime state Sen. Margaret Carter (D-Portland) announced she was leaving the Legislature to take a job at the state Department of Human Services.

First a bevy of Democratic candidates — including a promising group of hopefuls — vied for Carter's Senate seat.

After the county board of commissioners appointed then-state Rep. Chip Shields, a new race was on to replace Shields in the House. Many of the same candidates were in play, and this time it was Lew Frederick that the county board appointed.

Yet after all that action — much of which was by African-American candidates — no one has stepped up to challenge Cogen for a seat on the all-white county board. Candidates have until March 9 to file with the county elections division.

So in the interest of democracy (and because WW would love to cover a good race), we called a few of the candidates from those legislative bids to ask if they're mulling a run against Cogen in the May primary.

Obviously one of the candidates, Karol Collymore, is out. She's on Cogen's staff and isn't going to challenge her own boss for his job.

So how about Fred Stewart, the mortgage broker and 2008 City Council candidate who vied for Carter's Senate seat? He tells WW he has no plans to run.

And Roberta Phillip, the nonprofit worker who garnered big-name endorsements before dropping out of the Senate race because she didn't meet the residency requirement?

"I don't have any immediate plans to run for office, but I'm always looking for ways to serve my community," Phillip says. "I just haven't figure out what that looks like yet."

Former state Rep. JoAnn Bowman (D-Portland) hasn't yet returned phone calls.

Is there anyone else out there? Or is Cogen going to waltz back into office without a single debate? (For that matter, County Chair Ted Wheeler isn't facing much competition either.)

And in case potential candidates need any opp research, here are some photos of Cogen back in the day (courtesy of Cogen):

Jeff Cogen

Jeff Cogen hippie
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