In a boost to his campaign, The Oregonian has endorsed Charlie Hales for Portland Mayor.
A few excerpts from the editorial:
Hales, 55, brings to the May primary election a decade of experience on the Portland City Council, a deep knowledge of the city budget and most important, a record of accomplishment on jobs, transportation, parks and public safety -- many of the very areas where this city needs leadership...
Brady, 50, has a broad and appealing background in business, sustainability and public policy... However, Brady never has held elective office, is thin on executive experience, and in our interviews lacked Hales' strong command of city issues, especially the budget process and bureau management...
Smith, 38... is a political talent overflowing with ideas, and he has a solid record of achievement in the Legislature since being elected in 2008 to represent east Portland... However, we have policy differences with Smith on key transportation issues, including the need for a new Columbia River Crossing, which he opposes.
As a biased observer, I'd argue the editorial is a win for Hales, and a partial win for Smith. Jefferson is dinged for not signing off on a costly, risky highway boondoggle that will cost $4,000 per household in the region, add pollution to North Portland, and not solve traffic congestion. That political courage could go over well with readers concerned about fiscal responsibility and the environment.
While newspaper endorsements, like lawn signs, are often perceived to be more influential than they are (especially in high profile campaigns that provide a host of information to voters), campaigns still like to have them. It's a chance for a third-party verifier, which is why campaigns often quote or emphasize newspaper endorsements in their literature and television ads.
Of course, we can all point to past endorsements from The Oregonian that reflect poorly on the paper's judgement, or highlight the often conservative viewpoint of its editorial board. Some insiders joke The Oregonian is a cursed endorsement, and there are people for whom The O's endorsement causes them to run quickly in the other direction.
But in the end, it's a good day for team Hales.