This year, Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith clocks out.
She has served the maximum two terms allowed on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners—and voters rejected a 2016 ballot initiative that would have let her stay for a third.
Smith is seeking a seat on the Portland City Council. That leaves a new vacancy at the county for voters to fill in the May 15 election. The seat represents North and Northeast Portland.
An open seat usually means fierce competition, but an unexpected development changed the contest's dynamic. Here's what you need to know.
1. This race initially featured Charles McGee, a prominent African-American nonprofit leader. But in February, multiple women told WW that McGee had sexually assaulted them ("No Way Out," WW, Feb. 7, 2018). He withdrew from the race, and later that month was fired by the Black Parent Initiative, the nonprofit he co-founded. He is still under criminal investigation.
2. Susheela Jayapal, a former general counsel for Adidas America, is now enough of a front-runner she can comfortably call herself that in emails to supporters. She boasts endorsements from more than a dozen labor unions, three current members of the county commission and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).
3. Maria Garcia, another candidate, is the owner of Revolución Coffee House on Southwest 6th Avenue and formerly worked for the Mexican Consulate. Curiously, she lists the endorsement of the Women's March on Portland, a group so rife with dysfunction that Portland didn't even have a women's march this year after a massive rally in 2017.
4. Among the hopefuls is a familiar face. Bruce Broussard has hosted a talk show on public-access TV for decades, and has appeared on the ballot half a dozen times in the past two decades. He used to help his wife run a Jantzen Beach barbecue restaurant called Norma's Kitchen.
5. The final candidate, Sharon Maxwell, runs a construction company and is a vocal critic of efforts to reform the Portland Police Bureau.
6. All the candidates are people of color. The race includes two immigrants and two African-Americans. The contest for an open City Council seat is getting most of the attention for the diversity of its candidates, but this is the local race in which the winner is sure to be a minority candidate.