It's still about six months until voters select who'll replace Jeff Cogen as Multnomah County Chair, but the race between the most-credible two candidates is clearly under way.

Yesterday, former-county commissioner Deborah Kafoury (who had to resign to run for Cogen's spot) revealed a roster of supporters , including governors and most of the current county commission.

Now her greatest potential rival, former city commissioner Jim Francesconi, is signalling fresh support of his own. Francesconi's campaign today announced he's got the backing of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, a union representing 989 members in Multnomah County.

"We support Jim because Jim is a champion of working people," the release quotes union Executive Secretary Treasurer Doug Tweedy as saying. "Over the years he has worked tirelessly to aid working people dating back to his work with the Portland Organizing Project, his advocacy for workers throughout his legal career, and to his present dedication to the Community Benefits Agreement which creates opportunities for careers for those who need it most. Jim Francesconi is the friend of working people."

Francesconi, in this race, has made clear he'll steer clear of a strategy he believes sunk him in his 2004 mayoral bid against Tom Potter: raising a lot of money.

"I made the mistake of creating a false impression that I only cared about downtown business interests," Francesconi told the Mercury last month. "The way that I created that false impression was by raising large amounts of money from downtown business interests. I’m not doing that again."

He appears to be serious—his campaign committee hasn't reported a single contribution to date. Kafoury's raised almost $25,000 so far.