9:05 PM: Before we sign off for the night, let's do a quick recap of where the races stand currently:
• It'll be Kate Brown and Knute Buehler facing off in the governor's race this fall—CONTAIN YOUR SHOCK.
• Unless something goes awry Val Hoyle will be your next BOLI commissioner.
• Suzanne Bonamici will go up against John Verbeek in US House District 1 in November.
• Earl Blumenauer is running away with House District 3 with 90 percent of the vote. (But we'll see what happens.)
To be continued....
Sorry, I had to pee. I drink a LOT of bourbon on election nights.
• Scott Learn and Jennifer McGuirk are in a runoff for the Multnomah County Auditor seat. See you two in November!
• Deborah Kafoury and Nick Fish will keep their jobs (Multnomah County Chair and City Commish, Position 2).
• Jo Ann Hardesty will be in a runoff against Loretta Smith this fall for city commish, position 2—so enjoy yourself tonight, because tomorrow you'll be getting back on the trail.
• And the Children's Levy passes—because Portlanders are very good people. (Except for the idiots who voted against fluoride. You're dumb and I still hate you. JK!!!! Don't @ me.)
Thanks for joining us tonight, take a few minutes to read tonight's live blog (there's some funny, interesting stuff down there), and catch our election wrap-up in the Mercury tomorrow! GOOD NIGHT PORTLAND AND THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN DEMOCRACY!—WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
9:00 PM: Because we're gluttons for punishment, let's do one last check-in with Erik who's covering the (sigh) Stuart Emmons campaign:
Emmons just kind of materializes at my side again. “OPB just called it,” he says, holding up his phone. He’s clearly bummed out and disappointed, and, he says, “frustrated.”
“We put homelessness and affordable housing as our top priority,” he tells me. He told me earlier that he had “no bloody clue” how this race was going to turn out, but it’s clear he hadn’t expected it to be over this quickly.
“This city is just not doing nearly enough,” he continues. “I wanted to put a fire under city council to get people off the street, to get people in a safe form of dry housing. I’m outraged by the homeless problem in this town, and I believe city council has analysis paralysis and are putting a lot of spin on it. I really believe they’ve gotta set next winter as a [deadline] to get everyone off the street. I don’t see why they aren’t doing that.”
I remind him that a few years ago, election results changed with the second batch of numbers that were released. He’s not falling for it. “It doesn’t look good,” he says, shaking his head. “This is clear.”
I ask him what’s next.
“I’m gonna have breakfast tomorrow, and then I’ve got a project in Seattle for a prototype for modular housing for people experiencing homelessness,” he says. “I’m gonna take my homelessness plan and go to cities that want to solve the problem. I would hope that....”
He shakes his head again.
“I don’t think anybody’s serious about fixing this problem,” he says. “Tents have just increased, increased.” He sighs. “This is a time for great leadership, and I think we can do a lot better.”—ERIK HENRIKSEN
8:55 PM: Back at the Nick Fish party, the mood is jubilant... and the returning Commissioner is thankful.
“I’m just so appreciative of the vote of confidence that we received tonight," Fish said. "I’m very passionate about public service and these are very challenging times. I set three goals for this year: One was to win my primary, the second was to beat cancer, and the third was to bring about a Metro housing bond. My energy level is pretty high, I’m tolerating the chemo therapy. The tumor is less intense. The most important factor is your will—and I have a strong will.”—KELLY KENOYER
8:45 PM: Aaaaaand Kayse Jama who ran for State Senator has conceded.
The results are looking good for Shemia Fagan (and not good for incumbent Rod Monroe) and everyone comes together to announce the results. Oregonlive has called it for Shemia. The crowd falls silent for a moment before someone yells, “We don’t have a landlord senator anymore !” And everyone applauds.
Kayse Jama makes a heartfelt speech.
“This campaign is not about winning. This campaign has always been about building a movement, building a movement will take time, will take energy. Let me tell you, we’re winners. We pushed for the Democratic party to be more inclusive, more multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual. That’s where the Democratic Party need to go. Are we building an exclusive club? No. We want to make sure we build a party that's for the people. This district has been neglected for a long time. We made sure they can no longer ignore our issues! Economic issues, housing issues, homelessness, lack of infrastructure.”
At this point, as we are in a family restaurant, a little kid starts working into a truly wild tantrum and Jama just powers through.
“I’m going to continue to work with those who have been elected in this district. I want to hold them accountable. I want elected officials who will listen to people and who will meet people where they are!”
Then Jama speaks for an extended time about his team and the support he’s received from his wife, in keeping with his whole good guy steez.—SUZETTE SMITH
8:38 PM: Let's check in with Alex, who's now at the Jo Ann Hardesty party...
It's unclear what people at Jo Ann Hardesty's election watch party are more excited about: That Hardesty has 40 percent of the vote or that Shemia Fagan is winning the District 24 Senate election by a landslide. As soon as the clock strikes 8 pm and the numbers start pouring in, a band drenched in blue light kick off a blues set. They're masterfully weaving "Let's go Jo Ann!" into old school blue lyrics.
8:33 PM: From the walking death march that is the Stuart Emmons campaign...
The first batch of results is already online and... no one at Emmons’ party seems to have noticed, really? Or they just aren’t… paying attention? Emmons is chatting away, and a few people are poking at the appetizers the Kells staff put out, and if you just walked in here off the street, you would have no idea that one of the candidates in the most consequential election in recent history is just chillin’ here. I kind of want to jump on a table and shout out the early results—that Emmons is pretty far behind Hardesty and Smith, tied with Valderrama for fourth place? That’d probably be poor form. The ranch dip is proving very popular at the appetizer table.
Wait... HE JUST NOTICED.
“It looks it horrible, it looks awful!” Emmons says. I look up and he’s standing next to me, looking over my shoulder at the early results I’ve pulled up on my laptop. “Well, for me it looks horrible.”
We stare at the screen of my MacBook Air for a second. There are just over 60,000 votes in, and Emmons says he’s expecting about 100,000 to be cast.
He shakes his head, disappointed.
I’m not sure what to say here, because I’ve never really been in this situation? A losing candidate looking at his own election results on my laptop? There’s a moment of silence, and then some nervous laughter. I will say this to you, dear Blogtown reader: I might not agree with a lot of Emmons’ policies, or his tactics, or the fact he’s gotten hefty donations from developers and real-estate bigwigs. But Emmons does seem like an earnest and eager guy, and there’s nothing quite like looking at some pretty definitive numbers with an earnest and eager guy to whom those numbers are not exactly kind.
“I’m not suicidal!” Emmons jokes. “I’ll just have to come up with a plan B!”—ERIK HENRIKSEN
8:30 PM: From Kelly:
Nick Fish’s party is so lit it’s uncomfortably steamy in the bar and people are spilling outside. Minutes after 8 he announced that he’s leading by 63 percent, politely interrupting his wife Patricia’s speech to do so. The room erupted into cheers.
Ex governor Barbara Roberts, commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Amanda Fritz, and Tons of supporters are in attendance.
Fish gives a rousing speech, thanking all his family, staff and supporters, starting with the voters. “We always did our best,” he said, “even when cancer reared it’s ugly head we always did our best.”
It’s a pretty fancy place but the wifi is out, so everyone is crouching over their phones to check the results. When Commissioner Eudaly showed up, her chief of staff told her that Jo Ann Hardesty is in the lead and she cheers, fist-bumping him.
As for Julia DeGraw: She has a dozen supporters over at the Moon and Sixpence, enjoying the summery weather in the back patio. “No matter what happens, this campaign has shifted Portland politics, she says. “Every paper had been talking about districting,” her cornerstone campaign policy of making the city council adhere to districts instead of being open seats.
8:15 PM: Now let's check in with our Suzette Smith who's covering the campaign party of Kayse Jama who's currently got some catching up to do, earning only 13 percent of the vote, compared to incumbent Rod Monroe's 25 percent, and Shemia Fagan's very impressive 62 percent.
I’m OUT here in faaaar NE Portland at Salama International Bazaar which is a family style restaurant and also sort of a dry goods bazaar (like the sign SAID, Suzette). The vibe is INTIMATE. Kayse Jama’s campaign team is here, as are a smattering (maybe seven?) families sitting at tables. It’s not definite if they’re even here to support Jama or just eating dinner.
Local activist Gregory McKelvey is here, wearing the same Marilyn Manson shirt I had in high school. On Twitter he said he’s hitting five parties tonight and he corrects me, “I said ‘like five’. You can round up.” McKelvey has been helping Jama do debate prep.
“This district is really diverse and its representation isn’t, so it would be great to have someone like Kayse Jama as State Senator,” he says.
Everyone seems to be feeling pretty good. The whole campaign staff and their families were sitting down for a big dinner but people keep trickling in and wanting to take photos or congratulate Jama on his run.
Annie, Jama’s campaign manager says she’s been nervous all day but “Not Kayse, he’s cool as a cucumber.”—SUZETTE SMITH
8:00 pm: The first results of the night have dropped and here are the initial numbers!
Susheela Jayapal was right to be confident—she's screaming past the competition with 57 percent of the vote.
Deborah Kafoury is waaaaay ahead in the Multnomah County Chair race with 71 percent of the vote.
And oooooh, it's a very tight race between Jennifer McGuirk at 40 percent and her competitor for the Multnomah County Auditor seat, Scott Learn at 42 percent. This is one to watch!
Nick Fish is far and away the current leader for Portland City Commish, Position 2 with 63 percent, trailed at a distance by Julia DeGraw at 31 percent.
Jo Ann Hardesty is currently ahead of Loretta Smith in the City Commish Position 3 race, by 40 percent to 23 percent.
And the Children's Levy is currently crushing it, with a runaway vote of 80 percent! It's official, PORTLAND LOVES CHILDREN. Which makes you an outlier, I suppose.—WSH
7:55 PM: Meanwhile, at the Stuart Emmons campaign party (who had the misfortune to run against Jo Ann Hardesty), our Erik Henriksen is checking out the scene:
“We don’t have a bloody clue! We don’t have a bloody clue!” architect and two-time city council candidate Stuart Emmons says as he rushes to greet me. I’m in the private room at Kells downtown, where, two years ago—shit, probably wearing this same shirt, because I dress professionally very rarely—I covered Emmons’ election party for the race in which he ran against Chloe Eudaly and Steve Novick. Despite some early signs that pointed in Emmons’ favor, he lost that contest, and now he’s trying for Dan Saltzman’s seat—running as the one white dude in a race that also features Andrea Valderrama, Jo Ann Hardesty, and others.
Like Emmons’ 2016… ah… party, this one is… subdued? Yes, “subdued” is a nice way to put it. I’m counting about 15 people here, all making small talk, glancing at the The Big Bang Theory silently playing on one of the TVs, and patronizing an impressively bored Kells bartender. There are a lot of “Stuart Emmons for Portland” buttons scattered on the tables! They seem to be the same ones from 2016.
“We don’t have any reliable polls,” Emmons tells me, shrugging and grinning. He notes that he thinks this’ll be a low-turnout year, even though he feels that this is nothing less than “the most consequential election in recent history,” thanks to the issues facing the council and the fact Portland’s “social and economic issues are becoming more and more…” he pauses, then laughs and stresses the word. “Urgent.”
Emmons says he’s “cautiously optimistic” about tonight, but again: “No bloody clue!” “But yes, cautiously optimistic for now,” he adds. “But I might change my mind in five minutes."—ERIK HENRIKSEN
7:40 PM: Much of Southeast Portland is apparently experiencing a power outage, which sucks to be those guys, because they're gonna miss our boss election coverage! Oh well, at least now we can laugh behind their backs. In the meantime, let's check in with our Alex Zielinski who's at the party for Susheela Jayapal, who's a strong candidate for Multnomah County Commish, District 2.
Susheela Jayapal is surrounded by merry supporters, plates of hummus, and pints of beer at her watch party at Dar Salam. Jayapal's Susheela's running to replace Comissioner Loretta Smith on the Multnomah County Commission, where she'd represent most of North Portland.
"We have done everything we can do, everything has lined up so well," she tells me.
She's spent most of her day knocking on doors, a distraction to calm her pre-election nerves. Regardless of who wins the county race, Jayapal says the diversity of this election's candidates is victory enough.
"It's amazing. We're going to win ether way," she says.—ALEX ZIELINSKI
7:30 PM: Our Kelly Kenoyer is at the Moon and Sixpence at the shared campaign party for Multnomah County Auditor candidate Jennifer McGuirk (who the Mercury endorsed) and city council hopeful Julia DeGraw (who we didn't... sorry, Julia!). Here's her report:
There’s a small crowd here for city council hopeful Julia DeGraw and a number of others also hanging out in the patio of unknown allegiance. But I need to stop this report right now to make the following statement:
I am extremely disappointed there are no free snacks. What kind of party is this?!
DeGraw isn’t here yet, but Jennifer McGuirk, candidate for county auditor, is here with her whole family—parents, kids and all. She says she’s feeling good, even though she didn’t get endorsed by any press other than the Merc.
“It was really hard because Scott Learn used to be a reporter,” she tells me.
She’s a little worried about voter turnout in a midterm primary, and also concerned that voters might not vote all the way down the ballot. If she wins, she’ll keep the focus on abuse of power in the jail, homelessness and housing issues.
“A good audit isn’t necessarily you uncovering a big mystery—it’s checking on something over time to make sure change is really happening.”—KELLY KENOYER
It's primary election night in Portland, Portland! And the ever-ready Mercury Election Strike Force™ is hitting the city to cover the night's results, attend the election night parties, and eat ALL the canapés!
So what's in the political skillet for tonight? The race for Portland City Commissioner, Position 3 will likely provide the most nail-biting local drama—there’s no obvious standout candidate in the pack of five running to replace outgoing Commissioner Dan Saltzman. At the state level, we’ll be closely watching the Democrat’s race for Oregon Senate District 24, which pits progressive firebrands Shemia Fagan and Kayse Jama against the more moderate incumbent, Sen. Rod Monroe. We’ll also be following the Multnomah County Commissioner race for District 3, a seat currently held by Loretta Smith (who is running for city council).
Tonight you'll be enjoying on-the-spot reporting and lots of local color from Mercurians Alex Zielinski, Kelly Kenoyer, Erik Henriksen, Suzette Smith, Bri Brey, and yours truly, Wm. Steven Humphrey. So stand by, buckle up, and let's see how you voters voted! The first wave of results drops at 8 pm.