Clackamas County Commissioner Martha Schrader drew the ire of County Chairman John Ludlow and Commissioner Tootie Smith last week by endorsing the campaigns of fellow commissioners Jim Bernard and Paul Savas.

Schrader apologized to Ludlow and Smith for contradicting herself and for not calling them ahead of time so that they could make their own endorsements before the deadline for the Voter’s Pamphlet.

“I got to admit it: I did break my own rule,” Schrader said. “Generally when people are in political races and we work together, I stay out of them. … It’s my fault for not keeping track of time; it isn’t anything more than that.”

After she explained her endorsements by saying, “This is a good commission; we’re working well, and I’d like to see colleagues backed so we maintain some stability,” Smith asked her whether she would be willing to make another endorsement: Smith's own race against Schrader's ex-husband, Rep. Kurt Schrader.

“That would be awkward, Commissioner Smith,” Martha Schrader said, “however, don’t think that I haven’t thought of it in weaker moments; I’ll put it that way.”

Ludlow compared the incident with Bernard’s surprise vote with Schrader and Savas in supporting American Medical Response’s ambulance-contract renewal in February.

“This is not dissimilar to several of us finding out after the fact that the whole ambulance majority had changed,” Ludlow said. “Information to fellow commissioners in a timely manner is very important, and we’ll all have to address that individually as we will.”

“That’s why it is really important to publicly state and apologize when you screw up, so I do,” Schrader responded.

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