Sources seriously underestimated the value of Jefferson Smith’s endorsement by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters last issue.

Smith has voluntarily limited his campaign contributions and is discouraging independent expenditures on his behalf. But last week, the OLCV gave Smith the kind of help even money can’t buy in the Portland mayor’s race by publicly accusing his opponent, Charlie Hales, of breaking the law.

Even if true, many voters might not take the accusation very seriously. But it is the kind of distraction no candidate needs in the closing stages of what appears to be a tight race.

The OLCV has accused Hales of secretly recording the joint endorsement interview with Smith, and then releasing part of it to Willamette Week. Since the OLCV announced the Smith endorsement with a press release, it’s hard to understand why the group would want to hide the information.

Library supporters got those big muscles from lifting books

The campaign in support of the Multnomah County library district appears to be raising more campaign contributions than the other two money Portland-area measures on the November general election ballot.

In the past few months, the Libraries Yes! Committee has reported raising more than $200,000 in support of Measure 26-125. In comparison, Portlanders for Schools has reported raising only $69,000 in the entire year for 26-144, the Portland Public Schools bond measure. And Schools and Arts Together has not yet reported any fundraising for Measure 26-146, Portland’s proposed $35 per-person arts tax.

With less than two months to go before the general election, all three campaigns still have time to raise and spend significantly more money to support their measures. It’s especially true for the arts tax, which got off to a slow start because of a ballot title challenge that slowed the filing process.

Last week, the campaign announced Measure 26-146 has been endorsed by the Portland Association of Teachers, which could signal the beginning of a serious fundraising drive.

Money not hitching a ride on county rail fight

Despite all the heat it is generating, relatively little money has so far been raised for or against Measure 3-401, which would require a public vote on any Clackamas County money spent to support public rail projects.

So far, the committee in support of the measure, Clackamas Rail Vote, reports raising a little more than $31,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.

The committee opposing the measure, Positively Clackamas, reported about the same amount.

That’s not much, considering the fight on the $1.49 billion Portland-to-Milwaukie light-rail project in Clackamas County has been making headlines for weeks. Clackamas County commissioners faced serious public opposition when they voted to sell around $20 million in bonds to pay for the county’s portion of TriMet’s project that will connect downtown Portland with downtown Milwaukie. They then canceled the sale after a wave of court challenges from opponents.

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