Tom Potter, that affable mayor of Portland who cruised to victory through building a populist, progressive campaign, has endorsed Jeff Merkley in the race for Oregon’s United States Senate seat:
Jeff Merkley’s leadership as Speaker of the Oregon House has shown me that he’s the right man to defeat Gordon Smith. Jeff is building the same sort of progressive, grassroots movement that sparked my campaign. Just as I reached out to the citizens of Portland, Jeff Merkley is reaching out to all Oregonians to join his campaign for progressive change in the US Senate.
And in a move that shows that Speaker Merkley’s supporters are willing to go that extra mile, Mayor Potter also made a pitch to current supporters to grow the campaign by word-of-mouth, the old progressive standby of communication. Even more, he’s offered up his time as a reward for growing the grassroots Merkley Campaign. By inviting your friends to join the Jeff Merkley for Senate campaign online, you are automatically entered in to win a dinner with the Speaker and the Mayor.
Even though Tom Potter and Jeff Merkley are very accessible individuals, the chance to have dinner with both at the same time does sound like an intriguing opportunity for the Boundary to discuss its proposition to rename NW Northrup St for the late Senator Richard Neuberger (it would still keep the alphabetical arrangement of the Northwest neighborhood streets, obviously).
Potter won the way Novick is trying to: portraying himself as the true progressive in a race against a better-funded establishment type Democrat. So the mayor’s support for Novick’s opponent has to sting a little.
While Steves’ attempted analogy between Potter and Novick is off the mark by a little bit, as both are running a progressive, populist campaign that’s closer to Tom Potter than to Jim Francesconi, he’s probably right in the sense that either candidate would be a little upset if Portland’s popular mayor endorsed his opponent.
To Novick’s credit, he has picked up the highly-visible endorsement of City Council firebrand Randy Leonard, who has previously served in the state Legislature.