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It's been a while since I've diaried regularly at dKos, like nearly six years. But I've moved from Montana to Portland, OR, in that time. And something has caught my attention that I feel the need to share.

My friend Jefferson Smith (yep, he shares his name with the character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) has the big momentum in the Mayor's race out here in Portland. In April, he was solidly in third with 15% of the vote. He's now in a three-way tie. Why does this matter?

Here's a few reasons:

  • This is just a non-partisan primary. Top two vote getters advance to the general and Jefferson is now in second (although he's in the margin of error).
  • He's managed to do this despite being in third place in the money race, having raised less than half as much money as the money as the big spending frontrunner.
  • Despite being in third place in the money chase, Jefferson is actually first in number of donors. What does that mean? Basically that he's got a small dollar army, which is doubling as a volunteer army.

In other words, this whole thing is giant middle finger to big money in politics. More below the jump, but the important thing is this:

If you're in PDX, join us this weekend to canvass.

If you're not in PDX or you don't canvass (or if you canvass in PDX but you also write checks), donate to the campaign. We're in the final few hours where fundraising still matters before we finalized our media buy. Please give -- $5, $15, $100, whatever...

So how did Jefferson do this?

First of all, he's an incredible organizer. I know him because he started the Bus Project, an organization responsible for registering 70,000 young Oregonians to vote, for passing online voter registration that has registered an additional 85,000 (and counting), for canvassing hundreds of thousands of doors, and for training hundreds (heck, probably thousands) of fellows, volunteers, interns, and new staff the basics of political organizing.

In other words, why does Jefferson have an army? Cause he's spent the past ten years building one.

But it's also because of his values. Because he's been building toward a vision for some time, too. One that is predicated on positivity, but that is willing to do the hard work it takes to actually beat the big interets. If you have some time, check out this TEDx video of him speaking about what's wrong with our political system:

And then consider how he's changed it.

Last November, Markos gave him a shout out for pushing Portland to move its money out of big banks, a push that helped move Portland. Jefferson has been at the forefront of other important actions, ranging from fostering local economies, to negotiating intricacies of water law, to promoting greater budget transparency.

The lists go on and on. And sorry, this diary is scattered because we're down to the final 8 days and a few hours. And we need your help.

If you're not in PDX or you don't canvass (or if you canvass in PDX but you also write checks), donate to the campaign. We're in the final few hours where fundraising still matters before we finalized our media buy. Please give -- $5, $15, $100, whatever...

I'll be hanging out for a while answering whatever questions I can about my friend Jefferson, but we could really use your help. On that note, here's his closing ad:

Originally posted to Left in the West on Mon May 07, 2012 at 06:38 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos Oregon and PDX Metro.

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