Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, May 19, 2004  

Yesterday something remarkable happened in our fair city (that be Portland, Oregon). We held a primary, including a race for mayor. An mayor of three terms and plummeting popularity decided (wisely) not to run again. Strangely, though Portland mayor is one of the most powerful elected offices in the state, a number of high-profile candidates decided not to run.

So, as recently as a month ago, it looked to be a gimme. Sitting Councilman Jim Francesconi, with a $1 million warchest was the front-runner, was way ahead in the polls and endorsements race. From his shining hill, he surveyed a paltry field of 22 and cackled. His stiffest competition was a former chief of police (retired in '93) who wouldn't take donations larger than $25. That candidate, Tom Potter, had managed to raise a piddly $75,000. So you know what happened, right?

42.5% - Tom Potter
34.7% - Jim Francesconi

At various times throughout the night, Potter's total crept up toward 50%--and an outright win. Francesconi hovered at about 40% before dropping off even more toward the end. By morning, Francesconi had barely one vote in three, for which he paid a hefty $22.20 each. Potter, meanwhile, had spent a mere buck thirty six for his, and empowered voters proved that money ain't the thing that wins elections--votes do. The first Bush called us "Little Beirut" because Portlanders were so vivid in their protests of his visits. But that's just if you're an autocrat. If you're a man of the people, Portland looks pretty good.

posted by Jeff | 1:33 PM |
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