At 8:05 pm, Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen took the microphone in a crowded bar to announce his aide, Karol Collymore, had lost the race to represent North and Northeast Portland on the county commission.
His conclusion came right after the first results showed Collymore losing to Loretta Smith 36 percent to 63 percent.
“It was an amazing campaign; she did a phenomenal job,” Cogen said of Collymore, whom he had endorsed in the race. “Things don’t always go the way they should.”
Then Collymore took the stage in front of a crowd of about 120 supporters in Mississippi Studios’ side barroom to thank her campaign staff and volunteers.
“No sad faces,” Collymore told the crowd. “If you come up to me with a sad face, you have to buy me a cocktail.”
Collymore, 32, told WW she’s not sure if she’ll run for office again. After losing the race, she said she now plans to go back to work full-time on Cogen’s staff. But first, she told a friend with a smile, her plans tonight were to continue drinking.
At 9:10 in the main ballroom of the downtown Portland Hilton, Democratic Party of Oregon Chairwoman Meredith Wood Smith announced Smith had won the county race. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and other high-level Dems were holding parties at the Hilton.
“I got my act together in the general election,” said Smith, who trailed Collymore badly in the May primary. “I want to thank my brothers and sisters in labor for getting the vote out for me.”
In a packed restaurant on the 23rd floor of the Hilton, Smith told 250 of her supporters she’ll continue to back the Columbia River Crossing project. Her support for building a new I-5 bridge won her major union backing in the campaign.
Smith said she looks forward to serving with county Commissioner Diane McKeel, who encouraged her to run. She also thanked Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish.
“Nick Fish believed in me early,” Smith said.