[Phew! 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]

It’s springtime in Portland, the season when explosive blooms and chatty birds guide us out of our winter slump and remind us why we’re lucky to call this gosh-darned city home. This year, this spring awakening coincides with a clunky re-emergence from COVID-19 protocols and a monumental primary election. These events are closely tied, as much of the promises pledged by political hopefuls are rooted in post-pandemic recovery—whether that’s calls to forcibly clear the sidewalks of unhoused Portlanders or plans to support small businesses economically damaged by the pandemic. Politicians’ plans for a post-COVID future are central to our elections endorsements this May, as we’re looking for leaders who can continue to guide us out of the dreary pandemic years with creativity and grace.

In the Mercury’s endorsement interviews, we asked dozens of candidates running for local, county, state, and federal office why they are the right person for this particularly unusual moment. The good news: We found a trusted candidate to throw our support behind in each race. The bad news: No one will be able to single-handedly save us from the aftershocks of a global pandemic.

Portlanders placed an outsized reliance on government agencies during COVID, and many will consider which candidates can best handle unexpected crises when they fill out their ballots this spring. But the pandemic also sparked a resurgence of mutual aid networks, ones that filled free fridges with fresh food, checked in on their elderly neighbors during a heat wave, and delivered blankets to homeless camps in the depths of winter. We urge you to consider the responsibility all Portlanders have to remain resilient in the face of future unknowns when you vote this May. Electing someone to office doesn’t exempt you from contributing to your community or supporting your most vulnerable neighbors. We selected individuals that can both make wise policy decisions and can empower the public to lead when necessary.

The Mercury’s endorsement process left a few candidates out: Specifically, those participating in Republican primary races and uncontested Democrats. We also don’t think Oregon’s US representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici will have a difficult time being re-elected this election cycle, so we didn’t dig deep into their races. Keep an eye out for more in-depth election coverage as we near the November general election.

Until then, make a little time to peruse our endorsements—the result of many crowded and disorderly Zoom calls and decision-making discussions—before casting your ballot May 17, 2022. As always, our team will be there for you on election night to unpack the drama, discourse, and ultimate decisions. See you on the other side!

The Mercury Election Strike Force is News Editor Alex Zielinski, News Reporter Isabella Garcia, Arts & Culture Editor Suzette Smith, and Editor-in-Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey. Political advertisements on the Mercury's website have no influence over our endorsement decisions. BTW, if you find our endorsements helpful, please consider appreciating our hard work with a small $$ tip!