This time around, Jim Francesconi says he's treading lightly.

When he lost a bid for mayor in 2004, the attorney and former city commissioner says, people were suspicious of the money he raked in from downtown businesses. He told the Mercury he'll go out of his way to avoid that impression in the race for Jeff Cogen's vacated seat atop Multnomah County.

But political races cost money—Francesconi's chief opponent, former county commissioner Deborah Kafoury, has already raised nearly $30,000— and now we have our first look at the candidates fundraising efforts.

It's coming, mostly, from downtown.

Francesconi's announced more than $1,800 in contributions, many from his fellow attorneys. There are also contributions from Oregon politico Tim Nesbitt—who writes a column for the Oregonian and was recently hired to work on one of Francesconi's pet projects, the higher-education-focused Oregon Idea—and Kevin Gail, executive director of the Portland Workforce Alliance.


Francesconi's donations are all $500 or under, so far. Kafoury's snagged contributions of up to $2,500.

The election to fill Cogen's seat isn't until May, but both of the race's most credible candidates have trumpeted support in recent days—Kafoury from local and state politicos, Francesconi from the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters.