Multnomah candidate Charles McGee drops out
Portland nonprofit executive Charles McGee has dropped out of the race to represent District 2 on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, but the reason why remains a matter of debate.
The longtime head of the Black Parent Initiative said in an announcement that after discussing the matter with his wife, he'd decided that with two young children, it was "the wrong time to pursue a career in politics."
The newspaper Willamette Week, however, immediately reported that McGee, 32, had dropped out in response to questions about sexual assault allegations in his past that are the subject of an article set for publication on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
It is unclear what allegations the paper is citing. And McGee did not respond to emails requesting comment from the Portland Tribune.
McGee has already faced some scrutiny over his relations with women. The Tribune reported on a stalking order filed against him in 2007, when he was 22.
In that case, a 21-year-old daughter of a local pastor said she'd repeatedly told McGee to leave her alone over the span of 18 months, but he refused. She added that she became alarmed when McGee allegedly entered her house without permission after she repeatedly told him go away. He left after she began screaming and was "preparing to defend myself," she wrote in her stalking petition.
McGee denied entering the house or being violent in any way and told the Tribune he'd been a long-term relationship with the woman — contrary to her testimony and the recollections of her relatives. He said he had merely sought "closure" over a breakup. A judge rejected his denials and said the young man had been obsessed.
When asked about the case in December, McGee floated the idea with the Tribune of dropping out of the county race. But he did not do so, instead formally declaring in January. He unveiled an impressive list of endorsements that included current state lawmakers including Senator Lew Frederick; former state Senators Margaret Carter and Avel Gordly; former county board members Jules Bailey, Diane McKeel and Bev Stein; businessman Greg Goodman and political consultant Dan Lavey.
At the time of his announcement, McGee had raised more than $28,000 for his campaign for the county job, which pays more than $103,000 a year to oversee a $2 billion county budget.
Remaining in the race to represent North and Northeast Portland are candidates Bruce Broussard, Maria Garcia, Susheela Jayapal and Sharon Maxwell.
Over the years McGee has been vocal on schools, health and other issues. The announcement of his withdrawal says he hopes to continue his advocacy work.