We can only assume it was the Mercury's endorsement that gave Sam Adams the boost he sorely needed. After decisively losing the primaries to challenger Nick Fish, Adams stormed back on Tuesday night to win the general election in an extremely tight race. During Portland's recent political history, there have only been a handful of times when the winner of the primaries didn't pull off a win in the general election. This victory sends Fish packing and returns Adams to City Hall--and in a higher, more powerful, and autonomous position.

Adams' strong finish went against most predictions. Both candidates plodded along, with no major scandals rocking either campaign. But as an openly gay candidate, Adams may have benefited from Measure 36, which locally turned out progressive voters in record numbers. In May, only 50 percent of eligible voters bothered to voice their opinion, and this time around, that number increased by almost 30 percent.

Although the youngest and newest member of city council, Adams arguably brings the most experience. For 11 years, he served as outgoing mayor Vera Katz's chief of staff. In that position, Adams received criticism for backroom deals like the boondoggled contract with Family Entertainment to manage PGE Park. But last spring Adams left Katz's administration to pursue his campaign full time. Free from Katz's shadow, Adams confronted the assumptions that he agreed with the insiders-only attitude of city hall. Instead Adams spoke frankly about his struggles to open up the mayor's availability, and his plans for neighborhood projects. Among all the empty talk surrounding community policing, Adams put forward a decisive plan in which each neighborhood would draft a "top 10" list for the police to pursue in each locale.

Adams has shown he can be candid and approachable. The Mercury, which endorsed him in both the primary and general elections, sincerely hopes that this personality was not just a campaign facade, but a deep desire to improve local politics.