Stepped-up accusations and allegations from the Jim Francesconi campaign may have tainted Commissioner Erik Sten’s endorsement of Tom Potter.
The endorsement is now showing its first signs of political backfire potential due to claims from the Francesconi camp that Sten will more or less run the city if Potter is elected in November.
Though Francesconi denies ever making these allegations, a spokesman of Francesconi’s said that Sten will benefit from the endorsement.
The spokesperson cited Potter’s police chief record as evidence of his inability to be a strong leader.
“He didn’t really engage in the running of the police station,” said the spokesperson, recalling that Potter delegated the budget during his tenure as police chief.
The spokesperson said he sees this as an indication that Potter may delegate responsibilities to people like Sten if elected.
Though Sten was not available for comment at press time, his spokesperson Marshall Runkel stated that those claims are wholly false.
“That’s insulting and inaccurate,” Runkel said.
Runkel said that the only thing Sten would have to look forward to, in case of Potter’s election, would be a renewed focus on and support for the positions they mutually hold.
“There’s a much better chance that PGE rate payers, business owners, and consumers will be protected. People living under bridges will have a much better chance, hard working families that can’t afford housing will have a much better chance of getting a place they can afford, and I think there’s a better chance that the city can have their own campaign finance reform,” Runkel said, “these things are emblematic of their different values.”
Besides their shared beliefs, Runkel said Sten is supporting Potter because Sten and Francesconi have not “had a good working relationship over the past eight years,” citing Francesconi’s voting against the PGE rate payer protection and the anti-war resolution as examples.
Francesconi also opposes Potter’s plan to temporarily take all the city bureaus under his wing when and if elected, a plan that Sten supports.
“He’s not been persistent in some of his positions,” Francesconi said, “change is hard…you have to stick at it.”
Francesconi said he wants to dispel the notion that he and Sten are incapable of working as a team.
“Erik and I can work together, I’ve said that,” Francesconi said, “I think he’ll play a very prominent role.”
As for Potter, he said he just wants to win the “hearts and minds” of the people of Portland without negative politicking or big business support.
“I was going to run an honest, clean campaign,” said Potter, “by taking it out of the hands of the well-to-do.”
“I think all great movements have done just that.”