Record campaign spending fails to sway Happy Valley voters
Happy Valley Councilor Brett Sherman fended off an expensive race to unseat him in the Nov. 8 election.
According to returns updated on Nov. 9 and with just a few more votes still to be counted, Sherman's more than 56% of the vote comfortably defeated his well-funded opponent, while Joshua V. Callahan won an open seat with 57% of the vote against Ana Sarish for a seat being vacated at the end of the year.
Happy Valley Mayor Tom Ellis ran unopposed for reelection on Nov. 8.
Sherman, first elected in 2014 after serving for four years on the city's Traffic & Public Safety Committee, faced a steep difference in fundraising against Bill Krasnogorov, who has served as a board member for both Slavic Vote and the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland. As a side note, Sherman also has strong Slavic heritage, since his grandparents had fled the area that is now Ukraine, but Sherman decided not to make it a campaign issue, due to Krasnogorov family's more recent emigration.
Sherman pledged to take no campaign contributions, using less than $750 of his own money to build a website and pay for a Voters' Pamphlet statement. Sherman won by knocking on hundreds of doors with a message of working hard to retain a small-town heritage while embracing the conveniences of suburban life.
"It was tiring, but it seems like things worked out pretty darn well," Sherman said.
Krasnogorov raised a record amount of funds for a Happy Valley race in an effort to unseat Sherman. With $1,000 from former mayor and congressional candidate Lori Chavez-DeRemer, Krasnogorov pulled in more than $30,000, primarily from various homebuilding interests and companies, including $5,000 from the political action committee representing the area's homebuilders.
By comparison, Ellis spent about $14,000 in 2018 during his contested race for Happy Valley mayor, when he defeated City Councilor David Golobay, who had raised about $24,000.
Sarish spent about $5,000 this year in her race against Callahan, who pulled in about $10,000 in contributions, including $2,000 from the homebuilders PAC and $2,500 from Chavez-DeRemer.
Happy Valley's longest-serving city councilor is stepping down at the end of the year, prompting the two well-known volunteers for the city to step up and vie against each other for the council seat.
As a Happy Valley councilor since being appointed in 2005, Markley Drake won his first full four-year term in the 2006 election.
Both candidates who sought to replace Drake were familiar to Happy Valley residents. Callahan and Sarish both made it to the final six out of 14 applicants for the city's vacant council spot in 2019, although the council ended up appointing David Emami.
Candidates to replace Drake have appeared on previous ballots. Callahan, a member of the Happy Valley Planning Commission since 2015, serving as planning chair from 2018-21, ran for a City Council position in 2018, losing to Sherman.
Sarish, who volunteers for the city's Budget Committee and Traffic & Public Safety Committee, ran against Emami in 2020, but Emami prevailed in the last election.
Callahan honorably left the U.S. Army's Military Police to pursue a legal career. He now is a self-employed attorney and a member of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.
He grew up in Oak Grove, graduating from Rex Putnam High School, and earning a law degree from Lewis & Clark College after getting his bachelor's degree at Portland State University in criminology and criminal justice.
Sarish is involved in the business community and city advisory committees. Sarish said she has grown deep roots in the Happy Valley community and city government since moving here in 2003.
She has served as president of the Happy Valley Business Alliance and has been a member of Rotary, Parent Community Leadership Alliance, Boys Team Charity and the PTO. She has served on city committees for traffic and safety, the new community center and on hiring panels for fire and police chiefs.
Sarish's election was challenged by her missing the deadline to appear in the Voters' Pamphlet, then she faced an official investigation by the secretary of state's office for sending out an imitation pamphlet herself.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.
Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!