Hales, Smith lead in Portland mayoral primary
Brady third in early returns
Originally published May 15, 2012 at 9:21 p.m., updated May 15, 2012 at 10:48 p.m.
PORTLAND — Early returns in the race for Portland’s next mayor released Tuesday night show candidates Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith leading, followed by Eileen Brady.
As of 10:31 p.m., Hales had 38 percent, Smith 29 percent and Brady 24 percent.
After the first numbers were released at 8 p.m., supporters at the Hales’ campaign erupted into a party atmosphere and staff said they were looking forward to continuing the campaign into the fall after a short break.
To win outright tonight, Hales will need 50 percent or more of the vote. That is unlikely, and he will compete with the candidate with the next highest vote, which at this point is Smith.
Hales spoke to supporters at about 8:20 p.m., saying his priorities, if elected mayor, would be parks, police and the maintaining the streets. He also said he would tackle gang violence.
As if on cue, as he finished up his speech, a streetcar rolled by his campaign office. Upon seeing it, his supporters erupted into applause in tribute to Hales’ past support and development of streetcars and light rail.
The mayoral candidates used the last few days and every available minute before the polls closed at 8 p.m. to greet voters and shake their hands in the hopes of getting every last vote.
The extra personal touch is due in part because pollsters have had trouble figuring out who’s ahead and who’s not in this race. A KATU News/SurveyUSA poll released last week had the three leading candidates in a statistical tie, but with Smith surging and Brady stalled or losing some support.
During an interview last week Reed College political science professor Paul Gronke said the candidates were having trouble separating themselves in the minds of voters because none of them have “been able to grab the mantle of change and leadership.”
The mayor’s race has been cordial and the leading candidates have appeared together in numerous debates and forums during the primary campaign, including a KATU News/Willamette Week debate late last month.