Eddie Vedder at Moda Center Show on Friday Endorses a City Council Candidate

“He’s a solid human fighting for solid, solid things. Good luck, Jesse.”

BernieSanders_BryanGiardinelli Jesse Cornett with Sen. Bernie Sanders in Santa Ana, Calif. (Bryan Giardinelli)

The lead singer of Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder, during a sold-out Friday concert at Moda Center offered his band’s endorsement of a candidate running for City Council.

Vedder, in front of a crowd of 20,000 Portlanders, encouraged concertgoers to cast a vote on the November ballot for Jesse Cornett, a board member of Oregon Recovers and a longtime political staffer to various Democrats. Most famously, Cornett, a former council candidate and Salem lobbyist, served as the “body man” to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race.

“There’s some good people. One that I know here: His name is Jesse Cornett. And he’ll be running for City Council. I met him years ago,” Vedder told the Moda Center crowd. “There’s three spots—and just keep your eye out for his name, OK? And know that he’s got our backing. And we trust him. He’s a solid human fighting for solid, solid things. Good luck, Jesse.”

Cornett says he spoke to Vedder years ago about homelessness and had recently been in touch about his campaign. Still, Cornett says, the endorsement came as a surprise: “It was quite unexpected,” he says. “Pretty exciting endorsement.”

Vedder isn’t the only celebrity to have endorsed candidates vying for one of the 12 City Council seats up for grabs this fall. Earlier this year, actress Jane Fonda, who leads a prominent climate action political action committee, endorsed two candidates: the executive director of the nonprofit Verde, Candace Avalos, and the former chief of staff to Rep. Khanh Pham (D-Portland), Robin Ye.

Nearly 70 people have declared their intent to run for City Council this fall as Portland holds its first elections under a new form of government that voters approved in November 2022.

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