Loretta Smith

Loretta Smith (born 1966) is an American politician who served as a Multnomah County Commissioner. She ran unsuccessful campaigns for Portland City Council in 2018 and 2020.[1][2] In each of those elections, she qualified for a runoff election but lost in the second round.

Loretta Smith
Loretta Smith.jpg
Multnomah County Commissioner
In office
January 2011 – January 2019
Preceded byJeff Cogen
Succeeded bySusheela Jayapal
Constituency2nd district
Personal details
Born1966 (age 54–55)
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materOregon State University

Early life and careerEdit

Smith was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1966. In high school, she was a member of the Black Student Union as well as the track and cheerleading teams. At 17, she began attending Oregon State University, from where she graduated with a degree in communications in 1987. Soon after graduating college, Smith got a job as a staffer for then-U.S. Representative Ron Wyden. She remained on his staff for 21 years, eventually becoming his field representative.[3][4]

Political careerEdit

Smith began her own political career by running for Multnomah County Commissioner in 2010. She came in second place in the initial election, and advanced to the runoff, which she won by 26 percentage points.[5] During her first term, Smith focused on investments in programs helping poor youth. She served on the Portland Metro Workforce Development Board, which aims to curb the unemployment rate especially among people of color. Smith won reelection in 2014 with little opposition.[4]

During her second term, Smith generated some controversy relating to her finances. A Willamette Week investigation discovered that Smith disproportionately spent her office budget on travel and nonprofit contributions. In 2016, she was found to owe the state of Oregon $36,000 in taxes and fees, but in 2017 the state admitted it had made a mistake. Also in 2017, Smith was accused by several former staffers of harassment and creating a hostile work environment. She was also accused of using county funds for personal expenses such as grocery shopping.[4][6] Some Smith supporters questioned the accusations and claimed she was treated harshly because she was a black woman, describing it as "a political lynching".[4]

Smith ran for Portland City Council in 2018. She came in second place in the initial election and lost to Jo Ann Hardesty in the runoff. Smith picked up several prominent endorsements, including from all four of Oregon's black state legislators at the time and from former County Commissioners Jules Bailey and Diane McKeel.[7][8]

In 2020, Smith ran in a special election for City Council to succeed Nick Fish, who had died in office. She came in first place in a crowded field, but lost to Portland School Board member Dan Ryan in the August runoff.[9][10]

Personal lifeEdit

Smith has one son, Jordan, born in 1990, whom she raised as a single mother.[3]

Electoral historyEdit

2010 Multnomah County Commission District 2 election[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Karol Collymore 10,527 35.88%
Nonpartisan Loretta Smith 5,397 18.40%
Nonpartisan Tom Markgraf 4,029 13.73%
Nonpartisan Gary D. Hansen 2,663 9.08%
Nonpartisan Maria C. Rubio 1,951 6.65%
Nonpartisan Paul van Orden 1,790 6.10%
Nonpartisan Chuck Currie 1,785 6.08%
Nonpartisan Roberta Phillip 1,076 3.67%
Other Write-ins 122 0.42%
Total votes 29,340 100.00%
2010 Multnomah County Commission District 2 runoff[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Loretta Smith 34,303 62.79%
Nonpartisan Karol Collymore 20,329 37.21%
Total votes 54,632 100.00%
2014 Multnomah County Commission District 2 election[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Loretta Smith 23,644 78.54%
Nonpartisan Bruce Broussard 3,595 11.94%
Nonpartisan Teressa Raiford 1,986 6.60%
Nonpartisan Kelvin Hall 881 2.93%
Total votes 30,106 100.00%
2018 Portland City Commission Position 3 election[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Jo Ann Hardesty 56,364 46.31%
Nonpartisan Loretta Smith 25,743 21.15%
Nonpartisan Felicia Williams 13,198 10.84%
Nonpartisan Stuart Emmons 11,391 9.36%
Nonpartisan Lew Humble 1,953 1.61%
Other Write-ins 316 0.26%
Total votes 121,718 100.00%
2018 Portland City Commission Position 3 runoff[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Jo Ann Hardesty 165,686 61.81%
Nonpartisan Loretta Smith 99,823 37.24%
Other Write-ins 2,538 0.95%
Total votes 268,047 100.00%
2020 Portland City Commission Position 2 election[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Loretta Smith 39,304 18.80%
Nonpartisan Dan Ryan 34,693 16.60%
Nonpartisan Tera Hurst 30,982 14.82%
Nonpartisan Julia DeGraw 26,441 12.65%
Nonpartisan Sam Chase 23,466 11.23%
Nonpartisan Margot Black 14,091 6.74%
Nonpartisan Cynthia Castro 7,762 3.71%
Nonpartisan Jack Kerfoot 7,195 3.44%
Nonpartisan Terry Parker 5,095 2.44%
Nonpartisan Jeff Lang 3,837 1.84%
Nonpartisan Ronault "Polo" Catalani 3,512 1.68%
Nonpartisan Ryan Farmer 2,407 1.15%
Nonpartisan Aquiles U. Montas 2,175 1.04%
Nonpartisan James "Jas" Davis 1,842 0.88%
Nonpartisan Alicea Maurseth 1,632 0.78%
Nonpartisan Diana Gutman 1,597 0.76%
Nonpartisan Walter Wesley 1,405 0.67%
Nonpartisan Rachelle Dixon 1,097 0.53%
Other Write-ins 498 0.24%
Total votes 209,031 100.00%
2020 Portland City Commission Position 2 runoff[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Dan Ryan 88,433 51.17%
Nonpartisan Loretta Smith 83,073 48.07%
Other Write-ins 1,324 0.77%
Total votes 172,830 100.00%

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Oregonian/OregonLive, Everton Bailey Jr | The (January 1, 2020). "Former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith files to run for Nick Fish's Portland council seat". oregonlive. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  2. ^ Bailey, Everton Jr. (August 12, 2020). "Portland voters pick Dan Ryan over Loretta Smith to join City Council". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Dilg, Janice (January 21, 2015). "Biography - Loretta Smith Oral History Interview". Oregon State University. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Templeton, Amelia (October 22, 2018). "Loretta Smith: A Record Of Accomplishment — And Conflict". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  5. ^ "May 18, 2010 Primary Election". Multnomah County. March 2, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  6. ^ Jaquiss, Nigel (February 3, 2017). "Staffer Accuses County Commissioner Loretta Smith of Misusing Public Resources on Campaigns". Willamette Week. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  7. ^ "Hardesty vs. Smith: Diversity, housing, homelessness and more". news.streetroots.org. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  8. ^ "Municipal elections in Portland, Oregon (2018)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  9. ^ "Dan Ryan Is Portland's Newest City Commissioner, Winning Special Election Runoff". Willamette Week. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  10. ^ "Loretta Smith, Dan Ryan vie for Portland City Council seat left vacant by Nick Fish's death". opb. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Smith, Loretta". Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 30, 2020.