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Late returns push bookseller Chloe Eudaly toward runoff with Novick in November

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Chloe Eudaly.
(Photo via Eudaly campaign)

Looks as if Portland’s sitting transportation commissioner will get to spend the next five months running against the candidate for whom he had nothing but praise Tuesday night.

Commissioner Steve Novick took 43 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, sending him toward a runoff with what many people (including him) seemed to assume would be the relatively well-funded architect Stuart Emmons.

But Chloe Eudaly, owner of the independent bookstore Reading Frenzy and a co-founder of the Independent Publishing Resource Center and the tenant-focused Facebook community The Shed, has spent the last 20 hours first eating into Emmons’s lead, then (at 7:30 pm Wednesday) zooming past him for a lead of almost 1,000 votes.

By that point, Eudaly had 14.8 percent of the vote to Emmons’s 14.2 percent. It was a thin margin, but there are probably fewer than 10,000 votes left to be cast for either candidate (assuming that the two continue to take about 30 percent of the vote between them). Eudaly’s gains over Emmons have been not just growing but accelerating with almost every new release of ballots, making the chances of an Emmons rebound seem slim.

Soon after the 7:30 results, Eudaly was claiming victory over Emmons on Twitter:


Eudaly, a first-time candidate, has spent $18,000 on her campaign so far. Emmons has spent about $116,000 and Novick about $312,000.

Novick’s big lead in the primary and his incumbent status put him in a strong position for the general election. But the November election also seems likely to have a much larger and different electorate, as Novick and Eudaly share the ballot with the national presidential race. It’s not entirely clear which local candidate that might help.

Eudaly has had a laser focus on housing affordability during the race so far, to the near exclusion of discussing transportation. Its only mention on her website seems to be an endorsement of “less driving” among several things she describes as necessary steps to environmental sustainability. With the mayoral election off the table, Portland’s remaining undecided council seat will probably take a high profile in the six months to November, pushing the candidates to take positions on many issues.

We’ll be eager to be part of that push.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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