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Progressive Portland DA loses re-election bid to moderate challenger

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(The Center Square) – A progressive District Attorney in Oregon whose term has been marred by controversy lost an election to his more moderate deputy this week.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt lost his re-election bid against Nathan Vasquez, a senior deputy District Attorney who has worked in the office for over 20 years.

With over 167,000 votes counted, Vasquez led Schmidt 53.5% to 46.04%, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

Vasquez ran a campaign that prioritized law and order, including cracking down on the county’s drug problem.

”I am committed to ending the open-air drug use, to ending the open-air drug dealing that we have suffered from as a community,” Vasquez told supporters on Tuesday night, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. “I am also committed to restoring that idea that it is OK to hold people accountable and do it in a compassionate manner.”

Voters elected Schmidt as DA in May 2020, with over 77% of the vote.

However, during Schmidt’s tenure, homicides hit a record high in Portland in 2022, the city declared a state of emergency due to increased fentanyl deaths, and many cops resigned, according to the New York Post.

Vasquez was a longtime Republican. However, Vasquez registered as a member of the Independent Party in 2017. Meanwhile, Schmidt is a Democrat.

During the campaign, Schmidt criticized Vasquez for his past opposition to some gun control measures. Vasquez criticized his opponent for taking money from an organization that backed Measure 110 — the measure that decriminalized drug possession for personal use in Oregon.

Vasquez received significant support from law enforcement unions during his campaign. Other public sector unions and various Democratic politicians — most notably Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and former Governor Kate Brown — backed Schmidt.

Schmidt also got donations from the Working Families Party of Oregon, a left-wing party with financial ties to George Soros, according to OPB.

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