PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After endorsing incumbent Ted Wheeler for the May primary, Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is now throwing her endorsement for the city’s mayoral race to challenger Sarah Iannarone.
The announcement comes five days before ballots are due in November’s general election following months of protests against racial injustice and police brutality in Portland, in addition to crises brought on by the pandemic and wildfires.
In a statement on her campaign Facebook page, Hardesty explained that Wednesday night’s City Council decision to postpone a proposed $18 million Portland Police Bureau budget cut vote until after the election was the deciding factor for her making a public endorsement after announcing earlier in October that she would not.
“I made it clear I had no interest in rebuilding the inequitable Portland that existed before this pandemic,” she wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, that limited, status quo thinking is what we have seen from our current Mayor.”
Hardesty and Wheeler have repeatedly publicly clashed this year on the topic of policing, after Hardesty, who is also the fire commissioner, asked Wheeler — the city’s police commissioner — to give her authority over the bureau.
In a statement, Iannarone said she was “honored” by the endorsement.
“I look forward to serving with Commissioner Hardesty and to rolling up my sleeves alongside her as we work together getting Portland back on track,” the mayoral hopeful said.
Meanwhile, former Portland Mayor Sam Adams announced his endorsement for Wheeler on Thursday as well.
“Ted complements the smart and fresh outlook of what will be many first-time city commissioners along with the great work of Commissioner Hardesty,” Adams’ statement, which was provided by the Wheeler campaign, said. “He provides the city council a leader with a significant public service background, and hands-on experience with one of Oregon’s best and toughest jobs: Portland Mayor.”
KOIN 6 News asked political analyst Chris Koski how these recent endorsements might impact the mayoral race.
“Endorsements make a difference regardless of when they occur; however, at this point in the election process it’s unlikely that the endorsement is going to have huge effect, specifically on the race,” Koski said. “That said, there are a number of undecided voters out there — notably voters who are likely to write in Teresa Raiford — and those voters might be swayed by an endorsement.”