Wow. The months of guessing whether he'll campaign again are done. From his statement:
I am under no illusion of how challenging the race for re-election would be. I’ve been in tough elections before; nobody thought I could win my city council race in 2004. But I believe for me to win re-election as mayor, I would need to fundraise and campaign full-time, starting now.
As I have considered the reality of a possible re-election effort, I have come to the conclusion that I have a choice: Move this agenda forward, or campaign full-time for re-election.
With the state of our nation in such flux, and so many local issues needing focused and hands-on mayoral leadership, for me, the choice is clear.
My best service to Portland will be to complete the platform of change and improvement you elected me to deliver: Creating jobs, increasing the high school graduation rate, and making Portland the most sustainable city, with the most equal of opportunities. This work is well underway, and I’m committed to making every day of the next 17 months count. Thus, I will not seek re-election.
UPDATE: Political consultant Mark Wiener says Mayor Adams' reasoning for not running again sounds sincere. "I think, at the end of the day, what you see is what you get. He looked at the options and saw it was clearly going to be a very challenging race."
In our mid-term look at Adams' work "Advice for Future Sam", numerous people mentioned Sam working on many different tasks—overworking to a fault, actually. It'll be interesting to see what he chooses to push for as he goes into 17 months of not having to worry about getting reelected.
The response online has so far been overwhelmingly positive.
UPDATE 4:07pm: I just got out of an interview with Mayor Adams, who greeted reporters by calling out, "Beautiful day!"
He says a recent poll by unions SEIU and Oregon AFSCME "showed it would be a tough race, but, frankly, showed me better off than I thought I would be." Adams had a tough campaigns in his past, pointing out that he finished 11 points behind the leader in the 2004 primary. "I don't mind being the underdog. I like campaigns for the benefit of unvarnished back and forth with Portlanders." BUT, he concluded, "This really boiled down to what's best for Portland. The time I would spend fundraising and campaigning, I'm not going to phone it in as mayor."
Until the end of 2012, he said, he'll focus on improving issues like gang violence and job creation. "I plan to leave Portland a better place than I found it, where we'd been flying rudderless without an economic plan for 15 years," said Adams.
Adams said he has not chosen who he'll endorse, but that he looks forward to sitting down with the candidates. Not that it will inform Sam's decision AT ALL, but both announced candidates already have fake Twitter feeds.