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Contribution of the Week: Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Suffers a Noteworthy Defection

Social Security benefits judge Vadim Mozyrsky received the donation.

This week’s contribution went to a candidate in the primary election for Portland City Council Position 3, currently held by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. Hardesty won her office in a rout, beating then-Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith 62% to 37% in November 2018.

Although Hardesty used the momentum of a racial justice uprising to easily pass a police reform ballot measure last year, she finds herself on the defensive now—with two challengers, Social Security benefits judge Vadim Mozyrsky and lawyer and consultant Rene Gonzalez, both running to her right.

So far, they’re both slightly outraising her as all three strive to qualify for public campaign financing. One of the donations to Mozyrsky, while modest in scale, was notable for another reason.




Vadim Mozyrsky


Albert Lee


Lee, who ran against U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) as a Democratic Socialist in 2020, is exactly the kind of activist who powered Hardesty’s campaign in 2018. He’s a former member of the executive committee for the NAACP, Portland branch, and the board of the political arm of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon.

In the 2018 campaign, One Plum Design, a company Lee and his wife formed, gave the single biggest contribution to Hardesty’s campaign: an $19,542 in-kind contribution for a website and graphic design. Now, Lee’s endorsing and contributing (albeit far more modestly) to Mozyrsky, with whom he worked on the city’s police Citizen Review Committee.

Lee says he prefers Mozyrsky’s style and is disillusioned with Hardesty. “I don’t have the same faith in her abilities I had previously,” Lee says. “I don’t think she can get things done solely on her own.”