The Northwest Oregon Labor Council has endorsed Charlotte Lehan for Clackamas County chair.
Lehan — who was appointed chair of the five-member Board of County Commissioners two years ago, following the resignation of Lynn Peterson — finished second in a four-person nonpartisan primary in May. The top vote-getter in the primary was Tea Party candidate John Ludlow, a former half-term mayor of Wilsonville who raked in more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from mostly out-of-state corporations. The other candidates in the race were current Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas, a Republican, and Democratic State Rep. Dave Hunt. Savas will retain his seat on the Board through 2014.
The Northwest Oregon Labor Council endorsed Hunt in the primary.
Lehan, a Democrat, also is a former mayor of Wilsonville, having served in that post for 12 years. She was elected to the Clackamas County Board in 2008. Prior to her stint as mayor, she served on the Wilsonville City Council.
Bob Tackett, executive secretary-treasurer of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, said the Tea Party, Americans for Prosperity and the conservative right have targeted Clackamas County, with rich donors like Loren Parks of Nevada (a financial backer of Bill Sizemore), Stimson Lumber, and the Koch Brothers dumping tens of thousands of dollars into the election.
“There is a stark comparison between Chair Lehan and Ludlow,” Tackett said. “Ludlow is anti-development and anti-government. Chair Lehan is a consensus builder who has a record of getting things done.”
Tackett pointed to a resolution Lehan helped pass last year that calls on Clackamas County to prioritize local source hiring and family wage jobs when letting contracts.
In addition to Lehan, NOLC has endorsed Jamie Damon for the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, Position 4. Damon, a Democrat, was appointed to the seat in 2011 when Lehan was elevated to the chair position. This is her first political campaign. Damon’s opponent in November is former Republican state representative Tootie Smith. Smith, who received money from some of the same donors as Ludlow, finished second behind Damon in a four- person primary. NOLC endorsed Damon in the primary.
In other races for Board seats, labor-endorsed Martha Schrader won outright in a three-person primary race for Position 3. Schrader is a former county commissioner and Democratic state senator.
Clackamas County commission seats are nonpartisan, with commissioners and the chair elected at-large. Come 2013, in addition to Schrader and Savas, Jim Bernard, a Democrat, will have seats on the Board.