In the Historic Portland City Council Contest, Why Are So Many African-American Politicians Lining Up Behind the Ca…

This November, Portland will see a black woman elected to the City Council for the first time. Jo Ann Hardesty has the inside shot at making history—she led Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith by 25 percentage points in the May primary.

But Smith has a significant advantage among one group of endorsers: black elected officials from across the state. State Sens. Lew Frederick (D-Portland), Jackie Winters (R-Salem) and James Manning (D-Eugene) have endorsed Smith; so have former Sens. Margaret Carter and Avel Gordly (both D-Portland), two of the first black women to serve in the state Capitol.

Smith’s campaign says that’s evidence voters should give her the nod—and have second thoughts about Hardesty, the former president of the NAACP of Portland, where recent news reports…

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