A little more than halfway into his first term in office, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt is now contemplating a second.
Schmidt tells WW that he will seek a second four-year term in the 2024 election. His plans for a reelection campaign have seemed all but certain in recent weeks, but he had remained mum on the subject. In response to an inquiry from WW, Schmidt said: “I look forward to seeing this work through into a second term as district attorney of Multnomah County.”
Elected in 2020 after campaigning as a reformer of the criminal justice system, Schmidt has spent his first term, so far, battling criticism that his progressive policies are unfit to address rising violence and crime.
Such policies didn’t go over well in San Francisco, where fellow progressive DA Chesa Boudin was ousted last summer. But it could fare better in Portland, where Schmidt won his race with 77% of the vote, running on a “bold, progressive vision” to improve the city’s criminal justice system.
Schmidt was immediately thrust into the limelight when his predecessor, Rod Underhill, resigned five months early amid the George Floyd protests and subsequent civil unrest. Schmidt’s announcement shortly thereafter that he was dropping felony and misdemeanor charges against more than 500 protesters riled law enforcement and invigorated his critics.
Since then, a beleaguered police force and dysfunctional county criminal justice system, battered by pandemic backlogs and insufficient public defense attorneys, has provided a steady headwind as Schmidt attempts to prove his strategy works.
“Working to improve the criminal justice system and public safety are not mutually exclusive,” Schmidt said in a statement. “In fact, they are inextricably linked.”