Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten has pushed past the 50% mark today in his re-election bid against a candidate backed by the downtown business community. Sten had been targeted by the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) for his support of campaign finance reform, efforts to expand affordable housing opportunities, and because of his attempt to have the City of Portland buy Enron’s PGE. PBA and their allies poured money into the race and Sten’s opponent waged a fiercely negative campaign. Ginny Burdick, a state senator with a once progressive record, will forever be remembered in Oregon politics for selling out her values in her failed attempt to oust Sten. Portland voters rejected the negativity, however, and have re-affirmed the city’s true progressive roots with a tremendous endorsement of Sten’s leadership and policies. Liz and I were glad to be able to join Erik and hundreds of supporters last night as it became clear that voters were supporting his re-election. Last night it looked like a run-off might be necessary. Additional votes changed the story and Burdick conceded this morning. Congratulations to Erik and to everyone who worked for this important victory.
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