City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Concedes to Rene Gonzalez

Gonzalez will take office in January.

On Wednesday morning, City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty called political newcomer Rene Gonzalez to concede her loss in their heated City Council race.

Based on the amicable statements released by both competitors about the conversation, it appears the call was a gracious one.

“Commissioner Hardesty just called to congratulate and wish me luck in my new role. I want to thank her for her service to the city,” Gonzalez said.

Hardesty in a statement said: “Earlier today, I offered my congratulations to Mr. Rene Gonzalez. I wished him well in his new role.”

She added: “My hope going forward is that our city will be a place where people of all backgrounds can thrive, where no one is scapegoated because they are poor. This place we call home is suffering...We have made real progress, and now my colleagues on the council and across our community must shoulder the responsibility to create systems of care.”

The latest election results show Gonzalez with a 9-point lead over Hardesty. That amounts to a 20,000-vote difference.

Gonzalez will assume his City Council seat in early January.

The lawyer and businessman could likely be the most conservative member on the council come the new year. He’s strongly pro-police and ran on a platform of restoring order to the streets of Portland.

With Gonzalez on the council, there will likely be a strong four-vote bloc on matters concerning homelessness and policing.

But Gonzalez’s win comes in tandem with a measure voters passed that will radically reshape the city’s form of government come 2025. Instead of five city councilors, under the new system the city will be split up into four geographic districts and three members will be elected per district.

Every single current city council member in 2024 will have to run again within the new system. That means that Gonzalez will have to make another bid for a seat with less power in just two short years. A 13-person committee appointed by the mayor and confirmed by City Council will determine the boundaries of the four districts.