City Commissioner Randy Leonard may be exiting City Hall, but he's not yet giving up his influence over Portland politics.
Fresh off his announcement Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in 2012, Leonard tells WW he will endorse Mayor Sam Adams if Adams chooses to run for a second term next year. The two men have been close allies on the City Council.
"If Sam runs, I will endorse him," Leonard said in an interview Wednesday. "And I've told him."
Adams is expected to seek re-election but has not yet announced his intentions.
Also mulling a mayoral bid is Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, who says he'll make a decision in the coming weeks. Asked whether he believes Cogen will run, Leonard recalled Adams' come-from-behind victory over Nick Fish in the 2004 City Council race.
"Sam thrives when people tell him he can't do something. That's when he becomes his most focused and his most productive," Leonard said.
"It's going to be a street fight, and I'm not sure how well Jeff is built for street fighting," Leonard said. "I'll put my money on the street fighter."
As for his own successor, Leonard said he's endorsing Steve Novick, who announced on Wednesday he's running for Leonard's seat. Leonard said he told Novick "several months ago" that Leonard was not seeking re-election.
No other potential candidates got that advance notice, Leonard said.
"Steve is a very good friend," Leonard said.