Reform Candidate Mike Schmidt Wins Multnomah County District Attorney Race

Schmidt beat out Ethan Knight, a longtime prosecutor, with a landslide win.

The most highly contested Multnomah County district attorney race in almost 40 years has come to an end.

Preliminary election night results show Mike Schmidt, director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission and a former Multnomah County prosecutor, has pulled ahead with 75.6 percent of the votes on Tuesday night.

Schmidt beat out Ethan Knight, a former senior Multnomah County prosecutor who has been an assistant U.S. attorney since 2007.

Throughout the race, Knight had positioned himself as the establishment candidate, garnering tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from the Portland Police Association and the Multnomah County District Attorneys Association.

Schmidt, who touted himself as a progressive reformer, will succeed District Attorney Rod Underhill, who is retiring from his position after serving two terms.

Schmidt issued a statement Tuesday night regarding his win.

"The message from Multnomah County voters was loud and clear: They are ready for major reform in our criminal justice system," Schmidt said. "I want to commend Ethan Knight on a hard-fought campaign and thank him for his commitment to public service.…We had a serious discussion of the issues, and it served our community well."

Schmidt has plans to appoint a hate and bias crimes prosecutor, prioritize mental health counseling for inmates, create a unit specifically for a gender-responsive approach to prosecution, and eliminate the cash bail system in the state, WW previously reported.

As results rolled in, Schmidt was hanging out with former secretary of state candidate Jennifer Williams, who joined Tera Hurst's Zoom watch party. Onlookers of Hurst's party cheered on Schmidt as news spread of his win.