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Portland City Council race features 20 candidates across two seats, the largest slate in more than 50 years

Portland City Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty and Dan Ryan are each facing multiple challengers in a busy election year.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Two Portland City Commissioner seats are on the ballot this year, and incumbents Dan Ryan and Jo Ann Hardesty are each facing multiple challengers in their bids for reelection. Ryan has eight opponents on the ballot for Position 2, and Hardesty is facing 10 opponents for Position 3.

The filing deadline for the May 17 primary was Tuesday, so the ballot is now locked in with the current slate of 20 candidates across the two seats. In each race, a candidate can win the seat if they get more than 50% of the vote in the primary; otherwise the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on Nov. 8.

Ryan was elected in August 2020 to serve out the remainder of former Commissioner Nick Fish’s term after Fish died of stomach cancer earlier that year. Hardesty was elected in 2018. The other two commissioners, Carmen Rubio and Mingus Mapps, are serving terms that run through the end of 2024.

Credit: KGW

The primary ballot is going to be one of the most packed elections Portland has seen in recent years. The 2020 ballot had 35 commissioner candidates, but 18 of them were running in the special election to finish out Fish’s term, rather than for one of the two regular seats.

Excluding special election races, 20 candidates is the largest slate since 1970, which had 21, according to primary election records from the Portland City Auditor’s office, although a few other years have come close; 2020 had 17 candidates for the two regular seats, 2016 had 16 and 2004 had 18.

It’s unclear how many of this year’s candidates are serious contenders for the seats. Both races have several candidates who do not have campaign committees listed in the Secretary of State's ORESTAR database, indicating that they do not expect to spend or receive more than $750 per year on their campaigns. Several of them also appear to lack dedicated campaign websites.

RELATED: Straight Talk: Race for Portland auditor is contested for the first time in 36 years

Based on fundraising totals and visible campaign infrastructure, the most serious challenger to Dan Ryan appears to be nonprofit leader and political consultant Alanna Joy “AJ” McCreary, with a cash balance of about $41,000 as of March 8.

Candidates Sandeep Bali and Steven Cox have registered with ORESTAR, but Cox's campaign shows a balance of about $1,700 as of March 8, and Bali's campaign shows no income or expenditures so far.

Hardesty’s foremost challengers appear to be administrative law judge Vadim Mozyrsky, with a cash balance of about $130,000, and attorney and business owner Rene Gonzalez, with a cash balance of about $174,000.

RELATED: Should Portland shed its commission-style government?

Candidates Kim Kasch, Jeffery Wilebski and Joseph Whitcom are also registered on ORESTAR, but Kasch shows no income or expenditures so far and the other two each show a cash balance of about $2,000 or less.

The candidates are listed below along with their filing dates and, if the information was included on their filing forms, their occupations and campaign websites. If they have registered with ORESTAR, the listing includes their campaign’s cash balance as of March 8.

One of the candidates, Steven Cox, initially filed to run for Position 3 but later switched to Position 2. Three additional candidates previously filed or publicly announced runs for Position 2 last year, but have since withdrawn: Jamila Dozier, Brandon Farley and former state Rep. Akasha Lawrence-Spence

Candidates for Position 2

Dan Ryan
Date filed: Dec. 14, 2021
Occupation: Incumbent
Website: danryanforportland.com
Cash balance: $170,964

Avraham Cox
Date filed: Sept. 30, 2021
Occupation: Not listed
Website: Not listed
Cash balance: Not registered on ORESTAR

Michael Simpson
Date filed: Jan. 3, 2022
Occupation: X-ray technician
Website: simpsonforportland.com
Cash balance: Not registered on ORESTAR

Sophie Sumney-Koivisto
Date filed: Jan. 7, 2022
Occupation: Voicebox Karaoke host
Website: Not listed
Cash balance: Not registered on ORESTAR

Alanna Joy (AJ) McCreary
Date filed: Jan. 13, 2022
Occupation: Founder and Executive Director of Equitable Giving Circle
Website: ajforportland.com
Cash balance: $41,072

Steven Cox
Date filed: Jan. 21, 2022 (for Position 3), Mar. 4, 2022 (switched to Position 2)
Occupation: “Full-time candidate,” previously human resources manager
Website: stevencox4pdx.com
Cash balance: $1,716

Sandeep Bali
Date filed: Feb. 7, 2022
Occupation: Clinical pharmacist, founder of Next Level Scholarship Foundation
Website: betterwithbali.com
Cash balance: $0

Renee Stephens
Date filed: Feb. 7, 2022
Occupation: Carpenter/remodeler
Website: Not listed
Cash balance: Not registered on ORESTAR

Chris Brummer
Date filed: Mar. 8, 2022
Occupation: Not listed
Website: Not listed
Cash balance: Not registered on ORESTAR

Candidates for Position 3

Jo Ann Hardesty
Date filed: Nov. 19, 2021
Occupation: Incumbent
Website: joannforportland.com
Cash balance: $211,456

Peggy Sue Owens
Date filed: Oct. 12, 2021
Occupation: Administrator at a glass services company
Website: facebook.com/BLEU666
Cash balance: Not registered on ORESTAR

Vadim Mozyrsky
Date filed: Nov. 29, 2021
Occupation: Administrative law judge
Website: votevadim.com
Cash balance: $129,959

Rene Gonzalez
Date filed: Dec. 3, 2021
Occupation: Attorney and technology company owner
Website: reneforportland.com
Cash balance: $174,092

Dale Hardt
Date filed: Jan. 3, 2022
Occupation: Not listed
Website: Not listed
Cash balance: Not registered on ORESTAR

Chad Leisey
Date filed: Jan. 3, 2022
Occupation: Branch manager (business not specified)
Website: Not listed
Cash balance: Not registered on ORESTAR

Jeffrey Wilebski
Date filed: Jan. 10, 2022
Occupation: Educator
Website: wilebskipdx.com
Cash balance: $1,093

Karellen Stephens
Date filed: Feb. 7, 2022
Occupation: Caregiver
Website: Not listed
Cash balance: Not registered on ORESTAR

Joseph Whitcomb
Date filed: Feb. 24, 2022
Occupation: Western Star Trucks/Daimler Trucks North America
Website: josephwhitcomb.wixsite.com/political-candidate
Cash balance: $2,051

Kim Kasch
Date filed: Feb. 24, 2022
Occupation: Writer
Website: kimforportland.com
Cash balance: $0

Ed Baker
Date Filed: Mar. 1, 2022
Occupation: Unemployed
Website: None listed
Cash balance: Not registered on ORESTAR

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