As everyone long suspected he would, Jefferson Smith has jumped into the race the political void Mayor Sam Adams will leave when he exits office in 2012.
And wowzers, he has a fancy website:
Smith announced the news on his website this morning, but it was first reported in the Oregonian.
With a charismatic speaking style (he introduced Obama in Portland last year, remember?) and years of political experience in the state, Smith will certainly give current candidates Eileen Brady and Charlie Hales a run for their money. Like, literally. Thanks to the demise of publicly-financed campaigns in Portland, this is going to be a damn pricey race.
In the past month, Smith has taken in $3,100 in contributions (the bulk of which is a $3,000 contribution from lawyer Brendan Barnicle). Charlie Hales has taken in $154,719 so far and Eileen Brady has raised $176,909.
UPDATE 2:33 PM—OH MY GOD. I just got off the phone with Jefferson, who is high as a kite on Percocet because he literally ripped his eyeballs off last night. Smith explains that over the weekend, "I as working pretty darn hard at my computer and writing stuff and I kept my contacts in and when I took them out yesterday, they ripped my corneas."
"I’m in pain, my head is bloodied and I’m bowed," says Smith, who adds that his eyes are supposed to heal themselves without surgery over the next couple days.
Smith says equity issues will be at the center of his campaign, along with building a "homegrown economy" for Portland. He also says he will voluntarily limit his campaign contributions by not taking any money from out of state groups or corporations, though he will still accept money from individual friends who live out of state.
"So why the hell did you go through with launching your campaign today if you ripped your eyeballs last night?" I asked.
"We made a commitment and we're sticking to it," said Smith. "It’s got to be a good omen. I think it reminds us that vision comes from within and vision comes from within. Some shit like that." Percocet. Lots of it.