Former Bend Chamber President Mike Schmidt announced today that he is dropping out of this year’s Bend City Council race just a few weeks after announcing his candidacy.
Schmidt, who came to Bend from California to replace controversial ex-Chamber President Gary Peters, charted a new more progressive direction for the chamber before splitting ways with the Bend business group. Since then Schmidt has taken up the mantle of a number of progressive causes, including public transit funding and disabled access while running his own consulting firm. As a left-leaning moderate with a strong pro-business background and extensive community ties, Schmidt was expected to run a competitive campaign in a race that could have had far reaching implications for the currently right-leaning city council.
Schmidt said in a press release that he is dropping out of the race in order to allow his wife to take a new position that he described as her “dream job” in Santa Cruz, where the couple will be relocating.
Schmidt’s announcement opens up the race for seat number seven, currently held by Oran Teater who has not said whether he will run in November, but is not expected to campaign again. Teater is a former Bend mayor who left the council just a few years ago, but was appointed to fill a vacancy after Chris Telfer was elected to the Oregon Senate in 2008.
One potential candidate for the seat is Downtown Bend Business Association President Chuck Arnold who has broached the idea of pursuing the job, but has yet to formally announce.