The Portland Police Association's political action committee is a good-sized player in local elections.
The union's PAC, Keep Portland Safe, gave $20,000 last year to former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith last year, for example, hoping to help her defeat now-City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, an outspoken police critic.
But it's rare if not unprecedented to see Keep Portland Safe venture beyond local races or candidates—except in the extraordinarily close race for an district attorney's seat in San Francisco decided last week.
Keep Portland Safe gave the San Francisco Police Officers Association—which supports Suzy Loftus, the law-and-order candidate—$5,000, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, matching the amount given by the Seattle police union. The Los Angeles officers union gave $150,000; a New York police sergeants' union gave Loftus $25,000 and unions from San Diego and San Jose also contributed to help Loftus.
Loftus was defeated by a reform candidate, Chesa Boudin.
Although Boudin, a Yale-educated public defender ran to Loftus' left, the reason for the unions' generosity, the Chronicle says, is more about an historic crime: in 1981, his parents, members of a domestic terrorist organization called the Weather Underground, took part in a robbery in which two police officers and an armored vehicle guard were killed. His mother served 22 years for the crimes. His father is still in prison and may stay there for life.
Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner wasn't immediately available for comment.