Jim Middaugh, Commissioner Erik Sten's chief of staff, will likely run for the Portland City Council seat that boss is resigning from in April.

Middaugh tells WWire that he's 90 percent sure that he'll run, and will make a decision within the next few days.

Middaugh, 45, says that after Sten announced his resignation, friends had offered him about $20,000 to run before he even seriously considered the possibility. Middaugh says he mentioned this to his boss at lunch on Thursday, and Sten said "you ought to go for it. Go Voter Owned."

"It's a hell of a longshot," Middaugh says.

Middaugh would need to gather the 1,000 signatures and $5 contributions required to partake in the city's public campaign financing system, Voter Owned Elections, by the January 31 deadline. He's been spending the weekend making calls to gauge whether he could pull it off.

"I'm getting a pretty enthusiastic response," Middaugh says.

Middaugh is the second City Hall insider to express an interest in Sten's seat, after Commissioner Dan Saltzman's chief of staff, Brendan Finn. Lawyer Nick Fish, consultant Harold Williams II, psychotherapist Ed Garren and economic policy analyst Nick Popenuk are also hoping to replace Sten on the council.

Middaugh managed many of Sten's efforts on climate change and energy policy. Middaugh says he'd like to continue that work, along with the anti-poverty and affordable housing efforts that were Sten signatures.

"We need a strong, pretty liberal person" on the City Council, Middaugh says.