Anyone handicapping the 2012 Portland mayor's race
—as we did in our print edition this week—should note one down-ballot result from the just-concluded 2010 election that could play a crucial role in one potential candidate's decision to run.
Multnomah County voters soundly defeated Measure 26-110
, with 62 percent voting against it. If that proposed change to the county charter had passed, the measure would have allowed Multnomah County elected officials to run for a different office in the middle of their term without resigning their post.
Under the county charter, elected officials need to quit their job to run for another office unless they're in the final year of their county term. And that requirement will stay in place after voters defeated this ballot measure.
What does that mean for the Portland mayor's race? County Chair Jeff Cogen
, who's often mentioned as a viable candidate in 2012 to take on Mayor Sam Adams
, will presumably be less likely to run if he has to gamble his job security as a first-term county chair.
And who's the winner in this what-if scenario? Topping that list is Steve Novick
, a political activist closely akin to Cogen in his progressive outlook and shared connections. If Cogen is less likely to run, that can only increase Novick's chances of jumping into the race.