The current US rep in the 3rd District, Earl Blumenauer, is Portland's staple politician, having served in the role since 1996. And he's going to be a tough act to follow—I mean, we named a bike and pedestrian bridge after the guy. But with Blumenauer retiring, a lot of local Democrats are vying for his seat, many of them with strong credentials. But we're going with Susheela Jayapal, the former Multnomah County commissioner who is both progressive and politically pragmatic, and who we trust will be a voice for forward movement—not murky centrist stagnation. 

 Jayapal served on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners from 2019 until late last year, when she dropped out to be the first to announce her candidacy for this race. As a commissioner, Jayapal was an advocate for racial justice, housing and eviction prevention, environmental issues, and more. 

We were particularly impressed with Jayapal for her bravery and swiftness in calling for a cease-fire in Gaza last November—a move many so-called liberal politicians remain unwilling to make. More Jayapal pros: She's signaled her support for a Green New Deal, bolstering reproductive rights (Jayapal got an abortion when she was younger and has been open with her story), pushing for a single-payer health system, taxing corporations at a higher rate, and demanding more robust rights for trans and LGBTQ folks. Jayapal also has a history of "walking the walk": As an attorney, Jayapal would often represent immigrants applying for asylum (pro bono), and later as a county commissioner, helped low-income residents secure long-term rent assistance—a pivotal step in addressing the homeless crisis.

Jayapal's strongest competitors include state Rep. Maxine Dexter, Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales, and small business attorney Michael Jonas—all of whom are fine progressives in their own right. We were particularly enamored with Jonas, an enthusiastic candidate who helps new entrepreneurs navigate the often tricky legal waters of starting and maintaining businesses through his firm Rational Unicorn Legal Services, who we hope to see in future races, perhaps on a more local level. In short: Vote Jayapal, and if you're a 3rd District resident, count yourself lucky to live in a place that boasts so many passionate, qualified candidates.

[Read the rest of the Mercury's endorsements here. No time to read? Check out our Voter Cheat Sheet! And by the way, putting these endorsements together takes LOTS of hard work—and that's on top of our regular excellent reporting. Show your appreciation for the Mercury with a small contribution, please, and thank you!—eds]