2020 has been a muddy swamp of a year for the world, for Portland, and for our little newspaper.

But for the last month, the Mercury editorial team—that’s Editor-in-Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey, News Editor Alex Zielinski, and reporter Blair Stenvick—have thrown on some collared shirts, scrambled to find the right Zoom meeting link, and engaged in wide-ranging conversations with Portlanders who care deeply about the future of our city, region, and state. Getting to hold endorsement interviews with political candidates and campaigns has been a real privilege—and advising our readers on how to vote is an even greater one.

It’s also a grave responsibility, and one we take seriously. While some of the following endorsements were as easy and obvious as voting by mail is in Oregon, others are the result of multiple discussions among our team, hours of further research, and a deep desire to not steer you wrong. We can’t guarantee you’ll agree with all of our picks, but we can promise you that we’ve put in the work before arriving at them.

If there’s one theme that ties all of our November 2020 endorsements together, it’s this: We choose to embrace the future, rather than shy away from it. That means picking candidates whom others might warn don’t have enough experience, but who have a vision for what Portland could be that’s unmatched. It also means endorsing some new taxes, as galling as that might be during the COVID-19 pandemic, because we want to believe our region—and the people in it—will outlast the virus and the recession. And it means trying new frameworks, despite them being untested, because we know the current systems aren’t working.

All of that said, here’s how our endorsements work this time around: We’ve focused our resources on writing endorsements for contested Portland-area races, and ballot measures. For most of the other local, statewide, and federal races you might see on your ballot, you can refer to our handy election cheat sheet. (Spoiler alert: We think you should vote for Democrats.)

Endorsements aren’t predictions, and given the political chaos we’re currently unmeshed in, we can honestly say that we have no idea what’s going to happen on November 3. But we do know this: Even if you’ve grown jaded with national and statewide politics, your vote will undeniably have an impact on local elections. Whether you use our endorsements as a trusted manual or as a guide on how not to vote, we hope you vote. And we’ll see you on the other side.

Mayor and Portland City Council

Metro Council and Oregon House

Local Ballot Measures

State Ballot Measures


Cheat Sheet