With less than two weeks until the primary, the race for Portland mayor is locked in a three-way statistical dead heat for the first time in modern history, said Fox 12 political analyst Tim Hibbitts.
Usually, an incumbent wins the primary handily or two candidates break away from the pack and force a runoff. That's been the pattern since at least the 1940s, but not this time.
"The only thing I'm 100 percent certain of is that there will be a runoff," said Hibbitts. "No one is going to get the 50 percent plus one necessary to win the race. No one is even going to come close. Beyond that it is absolutely unpredictable as to which two candidates will go on to the fall."
A Fox 12, OPB, Davis, Hibbitts and Midghall poll shows Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales and Jefferson smith are statistically tied at 23, 25 and 20 percent of the vote respectively. The poll of 400 likely Portland voters found 28 percent of voters are still undecided.
"All of (the candidates) have decent positive ratings, none of them have high negative ratings and I think a lot of these undecided voters are wrestling with that," Hibbitts said.
Given that primary turnout isn't typically as good as the general election, Hibbitts said the next few weeks are now even more important. It begs the question: Will the tone of the race change?
"Portland is a pretty genteel city politically and we don't tend to have a lot of negative campaigning and I don't expect this campaign to turn strongly negative, but I would not be surprised to see in the last 13 days if maybe some of the elbows tend to get a little bit sharper and some of the jabs tend to get a little bit tougher between the three candidates," Hibbitts said.
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