PORTLAND -- Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith will face off in the November election for Mayor of Portland.
Eileen Brady had held out hope that late returns would move her up from third but Hales remained first with 38 percent of the vote, Smith was second with 31 percent, and Brady missed the runoff, finishing third with 23 percent of the vote. Results: Portland mayoral race
KGW political analyst Len Bergstein said the November runoff will be a spirited, all-out contest between two well-organized campaigns.
"It's not going to be a lovefest," he said. "It's going to be a tough race."
He said Brady supporters who are drawn to inspirational messages would gravitate towards Smith. Voters who connect with talk of specific issues will like Hales. The contest will test two men who tend to be sensitive about criticism, he said.
"Voters tend to pick someone who reflect themselves," he said.
Both candidates spoke with KGW Wednesday morning.
Hales said "city government is about real things." Portland should have strong pre-schools, high schools that serve neighborhoods, clean rivers, and action against gang violence. "Those are the things I hope we can turn to. Real substantive things about the city."
He said Smith, a former state legislator, has a background in state policy, and speech-making. The mayor is a public administrator, he said.
Smith said he doesn't care what Hales says. "When I got in the race, Charlie talked to me on the phone and told me not to get in, I don't have a chance. Well, now I have a chance."
Smith said his campaign will focus on looking forward. Errors were made in the past, he said, including neglect of East Portland. "This isn't about me. This isn't about him. It's about Portland."
He pointed out that Hales supports immediate construction of the new I-5 bridge, something Smith opposes as not fundable and buildable. He also opposes a Hales proposal to exempt developers from fees that would pay for basic public works infrastructure, something Smith called "giveaways for political contributors."
Throughout the campaign, Hales emphasized that he was the one candidate that could become mayor and hit the ground running, with no learning curve. Smith began the race as the outsider, and polls showed Brady a strong second early on. But the Smith campaign picked up steam as election day approached.
A KGW/Oregonian poll just after a live broadcast debate between the three candidates at KGW Studios was the first to show Smith overtaking Brady and moving into second.
“We've knocked on 35,000 doors. All of you deserve thanks and recognition for what you've done," Hales said as he thanked all the volunteers who helped his campaign reach Tuesday's success.
Smith told his cheering supporters that although many people counted him out early on, "I'm Jefferson Smith, and I might still be running for mayor!"
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