August 13th, 2010 5:33 pm | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, City Hall

Bragdon's Departure, Steve Novick and the 2012 Mayor's Race


This week's news that Metro President David Bragdon is skedaddling for New York eliminates one potential challenger to Mayor Sam Adams in the 2012 Portland mayor's race.

But the departure of one likely Adams challenger got us wondering about another name often bandied about for political office—Steve Novick, who ran a close race in the 2008 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Word has been that Novick, now working for the Oregon Health Authority, is at least interested in a mayoral run. He said this morning that "I have no comment on such matters."

"I've got a state job now," he said. "I just can't talk about other stuff."

But here's at least a set of circumstances (beyond this week's Bragdon announcement clearing out at least one possible serious mayoral candidate) that make it at least plausible to ask Novick the City Hall question for 2012.

1) Federal funding for Novick's job ends in June 2011, nice timing for a mayoral run in 2012.

2) Another oft-mentioned potential candidate for mayor is Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen, who was city Commissioner Dan Saltzman's chief of staff before leaving City Hall to hold elective office at the county. Last spring, Novick thought for a few hours about running in the county chairman's race before deciding it was Cogen's "time" in the top county job. If Novick decided it was Cogen's time in 2010, would Cogen be kind enough to decide it was Novick's time in 2012?

3) Novick, who ran a strong race in 2008 for U.S. Senate, doesn't have a lot of other attractive political options on the immediate horizon.

The next U.S. Senate election in Oregon after this November's battle between incumbent Democrat Ron Wyden and Republican challenger Jim Huffman is in 2014 when Democrat Jeff Merkley, who beat Novick in the 2008 party primary, faces re-election.

The next governor's race after this November's contest between Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley also isn't until 2014.

And Novick lives in the House district of U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who shows no signs of leaving any time soon.

The always-quotable Novick did liken Bragdon's departure from Portland for New York to LeBron James' departure from Cleveland for Miami, joking that both went to super-teams that didn't need them. In Bragdon's case, Novick pointed out, New York City is already ahead of Portland in many of the planning and sustainability areas that Bragdon has been brought in to work on.

"Do Portlanders realize how little they need to steal one of our stars," Novick said.
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