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Updated: Election night: Sam Adams is Portland’s next mayor

Posted by on May 20th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

[Updated throughout the night. Refresh for latest.]

Bike to Work Day

Portland’s new Mayor, Sam Adams.
(All photos © J. Maus)

It’s election night and the campaign parties are going strong all over the City.

The big news is that Sam Adams has won the race for mayor with a decisive 52-34 victory over Sho Dozono.

During his concession speech, Dozono said he “just didn’t have enough time to get his message out.”

Judging from TV coverage I’m watching, Adams is relieved and celebratory at his campaign party at the Jupiter Hotel on E. Burnside tonight. After a brutal campaign that saw two of his major projects (the Safe, Sound and Green Initiative and the Sauvie Island Bridge) get dragged through the political muck, I’m sure Adams (and all his staffers) will savor this victory.

Some of the pundits say that the Obama-mania that swept through Portland over the weekend helped give Adams a last-minute surge (recent polls had him at only 49%).

City Council candidate Nick Fish-3.jpg

Nick Fish has won a seat on City Council over Jim Middaugh.
Amanda Fritz-1.jpg

Amanda Fritz will likely face a runoff against Charles Lewis.

In the City Commissioner races, labor lawyer Nick Fish has trounced Jim Middaugh (63-22) in the race to fill Commissioner Erik Sten’s vacated seat. And in the race to replace Commissioner (and now Mayor) Sam Adams, it looks like Amanda Fritz will be in a runoff with Charles Lewis…

Here are the latest results of that race (as of 9:11am Wednesday):

    John Branam. . . . . . . . . . 16,054 12.03
    Jeff Bissonnette . . . . . . . . 16,231 12.17
    Chris Smith. . . . . . . . . . 12,372 9.27
    Mike Fahey . . . . . . . . . . 13,806 10.35
    Amanda Fritz . . . . . . . . . 57,518 43.11
    Charles Lewis . . . . . . . . . 16,854 12.63

Most of the votes have been tallied, but there could still be some movement for that all-important #2 spot. (Update: Bissonnette gained ground overnight and is now just over 500 votes shy of Lewis).

Bike Back the Night-19.jpg

Jeff Bissonnette came close to
making the runoff with Fritz.

With name recognition from previous local elections and more experience on the local scene, Fritz would have the advantage in a runoff.

I would love to see Bissonnette go against Fritz, but right now, it’s looking like Lewis will most likely be her competition.

Unfortunately, it’s clear that Bissonnette and Smith likely split much of the “bike vote” (which the Willamette Week says is about 5,000 votes — but I would say it’s much more than that). Both of them had very strong transportation policy credentials and I know many people who had trouble deciding which one to support. The beneficiary of that split is Charles Lewis. I can only hope that he shares Smith and Bissonnette’s keen awareness of the important role bicycles can play in our city’s future.

(Here’s a report from Lewis’s party tonight via the Portland Mercury.)

Back to the Fish-Middaugh race. I am surprised to see that Middaugh has only garnered 22% of the vote. With a strong grassroots campaign, I expected a closer race. But on the other hand, Middaugh was an unknown (beyond environmental-related issues) and Fish has run for local office several times which gave him much broader name recognition — not to mention he was a very solid candidate.

I met Nick Fish back in February and — while he’s certainly not the everyday bike commuter and environmental advocate that Middaugh is — his wife is an avid bicyclist and I think he’ll be receptive and attentive to bike-related issues.

I hope we haven’t seen the end of Jim Middaugh (and neither do many of you, judging from the comments below).

Jim Middaugh City Council candidate-1.jpg

Middaugh ran a great campaign
but came up short.

An interesting note on the Fish victory is that, since he’s taking over for a vacated seat, he’ll be joining City Council with the existing members. I would assume that Fish would be more likely to support Mayor Potter’s positions until Adams takes over on January 1, 2009 — giving Potter a chance to work some policy through before he goes.

What do you think of the results so far?

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you.

  • Donald May 20, 2008 at 9:00 pm


    Go Sam!

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  • rixtir May 20, 2008 at 9:02 pm


    Pity Middaugh won\’t be joining Sam on the Coiuncil; hopefully, we\’ll get Smith or Bissonnette….

    And while Donald got firsties on Sam, I\’ll claim them on another race…GOBAMA!

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  • rixtir May 20, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Arghh, I posted before I read the bad news about Smith and Bissonnette…

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  • Elliot May 20, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Where has Nick Fish been this entire election season?

    My cycling routes range over the entire east side of Portland, and I\’ve seen less than a dozen Fish lawn signs compared to probably hundreds of Middaugh signs. It has the appearance that he has just relied on name recognition from previous campaigns rather than relevant qualifications. That isn\’t to say that Fish is unqualified, but that issues facing the city (and the world) have changed drastically since he last ran for office against Sam Adams in 2004.

    Jim Middaugh demonstrated to me that he has the correct priorities and the right expertise to lead Portland into the future; I look forward to voting for him again in the coming years.

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  • Russell May 20, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I\’m very disappointed. The only exciting news is Sam Adams (maybe AG and Sec. State can be said to be exciting, but eh . . .)

    I wanted Obama to have a greater spread. I felt quite strongly about Middaugh. And I wanted either Bissonnette or Smith. I can only hope that Branam steps ahead of Lewis for the runoff (it appears they\’re the closest individuals). At least Leonard trounced the competition. Anyone know how Wu and Blumenauer are doing? (I\’m guessing quite well)

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  • Scott Mizée May 20, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    I gotta admit… this is the first time I\’ve ever turned to a bicycling website for my election results. …but I\’m sure it won\’t be the last time. Thanks for all of your great coverage this season, Jonathan. Keep it up!

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  • Matthew May 20, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    @Elliot: I second that motion. Middaugh was one of the few candidates I could imagine in higher office. Hopefully we\’ll have another opportunity to elect him in the future.

    @Russell: As of 9:25pm, Wu has 77.6% and Blumenauer 86.9%. Fuggedaboutit…

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  • Russell May 20, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Yeah, I just checked in on that. I was actually going to vote Hobbs until I turned on C-Span today and saw Wu go at it with a republican on the house floor. The way he handled himself was impressive. I really hope that Jim Middaugh tries his hand again in the future and I hope that he keeps involved with city politics in the meantime. Mr. Middaugh, if you\’re reading this – stick with it.

    Anyone have any opinions on the Beaverton Mayoral race? I don\’t know much about Beaverton politics, but hope that Doyle means progress for cyclists there . . .

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) May 20, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    \”issues facing the city (and the world) have changed drastically since he [Nick Fish] last ran for office against Sam Adams in 2004.\”

    that is indeed true… but maybe Nick Fish has changed a bit in the last four years as well?

    I have a question… does anyone know when Adams would officially take over for Mayor? Would it be November?

    I ask because I would assume Fish will tend to vote more with Potter until he finishes out his term.. giving Potter a chance to work some policy through before he goes.

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  • Horowitz May 20, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    I\’m very very excited for Sam. I\’m not surprised that Smith finished last. I am a bit surprised that Fish won outright. I\’m happy for Amanda – I liked her 2 years ago, but wish she had run against Sten rather than Saltzman. Now it appears she will get her chance. I\’m disappointed that Wu won, though it was pretty obvious he was going to. I predicted about a 55/45 for Obama, so it was nice to see him exceed that.

    I like the look of the new (predicted) Council: Adams, Saltzman, Leonard, Fish, Fritz – Some real opportunities there…

    Jonathan, it looks like your readers WERE smart enough to see past one issue candidates after all. 🙂

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  • Vance May 20, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    \’Grats, Mayor Adams!

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  • david4130 May 20, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Sam takes office in \’09.

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  • Zaphod May 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm


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  • rixtir May 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    \”Real opportunities\” would include real opportunities to address global warming. That\’s only going to happen with this council if Sam Adams drags them kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

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  • rixtir May 20, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    GO Jeff!

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  • Horowitz May 20, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Climate change IS important, but I\’d like the Council to first address homelessness, school and transportation funding, police and fire pension liabilities, small business vitality, as examples. You know, real issues that they can actually make a difference on. Where are your priorities, man?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) May 20, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Major update: I just read over at the Portland Mercury that Jeff Bissonnette is at 12%, tied with Branam and close to Lewis for that #2 runoff spot with Fritz.

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  • rixtir May 20, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    My priorities are placed on a living planet.

    You know, the one issue that makes all other issues pale in comparison.

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  • 2GOAT May 20, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    I was too afraid to even hope. Thank you Portland and congratulations Sam!!!

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  • a non e-mouse May 20, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    It\’s too bad Smith and Bissonnette split the bike vote as it now looks like neither will be in the run off.

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  • peejay May 20, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Great for Sam, disappointing about the rest of the council. Nationally, will someone PLEASE tell Hillary to hang it up? We need Obama\’s voice to fix our national transportation policy, among other things.

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  • East Portlander May 20, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    I\’m happy for Sam! I\’ll keep his campaign sign up for just a couple more days to revel in his victory! I\’m not very excited about Amanda or Nick though.. Boo..

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  • David Dean May 20, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    I think the Clinton / Obama runoff is good for the Democrats. I\’m sure the intensity of the contest has caused a surge in voter registration amongst potential liberal voters.

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  • N.I.K. May 20, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    As a former Portland resident: well done, citizens. We all know which Town Hall Meeting regulars are crapping their pants tonight, faced with the realization that they and their Sprawl Agenda face a great deal of opposition. Keep up the good work.

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  • mark May 20, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    yay Sam! It wasn\’t even as close as I expected. I work in the building where Sho has his travel agency and saw him all the time. He never said a word to me. He usually tried to steer clear and seemed annoyed when I got on the elevator with my bike. I think if I was ever on an elevator with Sam he would have said hi or \”nice bike\” or something like that. too bad about Nick Fish. and yay Obama, too! I wish Hillary would just quit while she\’s behind. ***This sentence deleted for inappropriate language ***

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  • Li May 20, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Fish was endorsed by Willy Week..where the undecided turn when they didn\’t do their homework. (I\’m being kind here.)

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  • Bjorn May 20, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    We really should move to Instant Runoff Voting in our city council and mayoral elections. By doing so we would eliminate the need for separate and expensive runoff elections while at the same time preventing someone from winning solely because 2 or more of their opponents appealed to a similar voter base.


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  • Jill May 21, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Wow- go Sam! I was really expecting a run-off this fall. So nice that he can stop campaigning and focus on the good works!
    Great news!

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  • E May 21, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Be nice to Hillary, folks. Do you think we\’d have had this kind of turnout if the big race was already decided? If Obama was already the nominee, do you think his supporters would have turned out just to vote for Adams? Close races between qualified and inspiring candidates are good for the country.

    Don\’t hang it up, Hillary. Make him earn it. 😉

    oh yeah – yay Sam!! 😀

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  • jeff May 21, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Congrats to Nick, he\’ll make an excellent commissioner. It\’s not all about the bike. Li, you seem bitter. With 63% I think it was more than WW swaying undecided, unresearched voters.

    Jim was a great candidate, I wish him luck and will give him support in any of his ventures.

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  • the other steph May 21, 2008 at 9:01 am

    fingers crossed like pretzels for Jeff to break through. Amanda and Jeff would be a great twosome for the general. Chris, i hope we will see you on a ballot coming to our mailboxes again soon.
    oh yeah, and
    YEAY SAM!!

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  • regis May 21, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I sure hope this site manages to keep its focus away from politics for the most part. What a waste if it devolves into piles of ick like the last line of comment #25 passing moderation.

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  • peejay May 21, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Bikes and politics cannot be separated. Nice language, however, can be maintained for all subjects.

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  • tonyt May 21, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Dozono: \”just didn’t have enough time to get his message out.\”

    Correction- just had no message.

    E – He\’s earned it. And we might all benefit from a candidate who\’s had a couple of weeks to take a break.

    A little math – Hillary needs 82% of all of the remaining delegates and super delegates combined to win the nomination. Barack needs 21%.

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  • Jerrod May 21, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Yessssssssssssssss. Sam, if you\’re reading this, please don\’t let those car people affect you. Go right ahead and make a million bike blvds, do crazy Copenhagen/Amsterdam stuff; make it to where my grandma wouldn\’t have a problem going out and riding her bike to the grocery store. If Portland doesn\’t do it, who will? Portland needs to be the leader in stuff that\’s normal in Europe.

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  • peejay May 21, 2008 at 11:34 am

    I second what tonyt said.

    While I commend Hillary for a tough campaign, I draw the line at the ways she\’s clinging on by undermining Obama\’s ability to win the national vote. She needs to face reality and start bringing her people back into common cause with the Party, rather than feed them all these mixed messages.

    Oh, and if this might be considered off-topic: bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes!

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  • rixtir May 21, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I don\’t think it\’s so bad that she\’s hanging on, if it\’s to blaze a trail for the first woman President. What I do mind is the outright nastiness and deception and race-baiting she\’s resorted to in this campaign. We don\’t need a Karl Rove in a pant suit, and we don\’t need a former President who fancied himself to be \”America\’s first black President\” stooping to race-baiting when the voters have chosen someone else.

    That said, BIKES, BIKES, BIKES!

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  • peejay May 21, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Speaking of which, Jonathan, when\’s the next bikeportland social hour? I\’m sure the regular readers would love to go at each other in beer-fueled fisticuffs to settle our political scores, and I\’ve been waiting for some time now to watch rixtir crash my bike while attempting to skid to a stop.

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  • erin g. May 21, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Congratulations, Sam!! And congratulations, Portland, for electing mayor who *delivers* upon his words. I\’ve never seen a civic leader more deeply and sincerely engaged with his community. I feel that Sam did so much to learn about community needs and champion causes that so many of us care about throughout his term as Transportation Commissioner. I can\’t wait to see what he does as Mayor!

    Proud to be a Portlander, yet again…

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  • rixtir May 21, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    I do owe you that, don\’t I, peejay?


    In other \”candidate\” news, I\’ve elected a candidate bike for conversion to fixed gear. That race should be settled by summer, although it\’s still not certain when my fixed gear candidate will take office.

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  • Robin May 21, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Social hour!

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  • Chad May 21, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Yay Sam!
    Yay Portland!
    Yay Bikes!

    Sam was just on The Rick Emerson Show…funny as hell.

    BTW the homophobes where I work are having a super bad day.

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  • CAPS May 21, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Surprise to me that the Sam Adams election news even made in on perezhilton.com
    2 blogs that have nothing to do with each other however I read them both daily.
    Just wanted to share.

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  • a.O May 21, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    peejay, throw me a bone here and give me some way to figure out who the hell you are at the next social hour!

    And will somebody please Hillary that it\’s over!

    Oh yeah, I ride bikes and stuff.

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  • peejay May 21, 2008 at 3:41 pm


    We\’re just never gonna meet again! Unless, of course, Jonathan does the right thing and pencils in the next social hour – and makes nametags mandatory! Also, invite Sam so we can set the anti-car agenda for his next term.

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  • bIKE pUNK May 21, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Now I can sleep a little better. Seeing all the Sho signs and having nightmares about more Wal-Mart has been keeping me up at night. We got Sam in charge and Obama in large so things look exiting finally.

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