PORTLAND, Ore. – Even after pulling off a victory in Tuesday’s primary to advance to the November General Election, mayoral candidate Charlie Hales has fired six out of seven campaign staff members.
The only one to survive the ax was his political consultant Liz Kaufman.
Hales campaign manager Jessica Moskovitz was one of those let go. She told KATU News Friday afternoon she was proud of the work the campaign accomplished in the primary.
"The general election is going to be a tough one – Jefferson (Smith) is a strong campaigner," she said. "Charlie wanted to reorganize in preparation for that challenge. I wish him the best of luck."
Others who found themselves out of a job were his field director, finance director, finance assistant and two field organizers. The move came as a shock to those who were let go.
Early vote returns Wednesday morning had Hales with 38 percent and Smith with 31 percent, but by Friday, Multnomah County Elections reported that Smith had closed the gap to within about four percentage points as more votes were tallied.
Since no candidate in the primary received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers, Hales and Smith, will face off in November, and with the vote appearing to be relatively close, it may prove to be a fierce battle. The other leading primary candidate, businesswoman Eileen Brady, came in third and was eliminated from the race.
Hales and Kaufman could not be reached for comment Friday.
KATU News partner Willamette Week initially reported the shake-up.
KATU political reporter Patrick Preston contributed to this report.