Reminder of efforts against Portland mayor Ted Wheeler hires campaign manager, plans July launch
A Progressive-backed effort to recall Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has brought in a campaign manager and plans to officially launch in a few weeks, the group said on Tuesday.
Audrey Caines, an environmental and social justice organizer, joined Total Recall PDX last month, becoming the first paid employee of the self-proclaimed grassroots campaign.
Caines recently worked with Portland Rising Tide, an environmental group that fought the construction of a gas pipeline in southern Oregon and blocked oil trains running along the Columbia River Gorge.
In an interview on Tuesday, Caines said the recall effort drew nearly 200 volunteers – many of whom will take to the streets the week of July 9 to begin collecting the nearly 50,000 signatures needed to initiate a citywide recall. in Portland.
Recall efforts in Oregon cannot begin until the elected official has served at least six months of his current term, according to the state’s constitution. For Wheeler, it will be July 1.
Local activists Alan Kessler and Seth Wooley formed a political action committee to oust the mayor last November, less than two weeks after Wheeler won re-election with just 46% of the vote.
Woolley, a campaign finance watchdog, ran unsuccessfully last year for the city council seat occupied by then-commissioner Chloe Eudaly.
Kessler, a lawyer and advocate for public records, served as a campaign lawyer for progressive challenger Sarah Iannarone, who narrowly lost her attempt to topple Wheeler last November.
Deposits show that the group, Total Recall PDX, has raised nearly $ 40,000 and has just over $ 26,500.
Wheeler’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Those calling for the mayor’s dismissal have criticized a large personal loan Wheeler made during his run for re-election, as well as the financial support he received from the city’s business interests, which have spent heavily in her name.
The group also criticized Wheeler for the city police response to months of racial justice protests and for his recent decision not to immediately expand Portland Street Response, an experimental program to provide a non-police response to people. in crisis outside.
While the campaign had also originally targeted the overthrow of Commissioner Dan Ryan, it now focuses solely on the mayor, Caines said.
Once a recall effort is officially launched, petitioners have 90 days to collect the signatures of registered voters represented by the incumbent, who total up to 15% of all votes cast for the governor of the jurisdiction. during the last governor’s election.
That number is 47,788 based on the votes cast in Portland during the governor’s race on November 6, 2018, according to the city’s auditor’s office.
Caines said the campaign will seek to garner twice the number of signatures required, 95,576 – nearly 25% of the 431,522 registered voters in the city of Portland.
While many Oregon elected officials have faced recall threats, including former Portland mayors Sam Adams and Charlie Hales and Governor Kate Brown, few made the ballot prevail.
One exception: residents of Oregon City voted last November to remove Mayor Dan Holladay from office.
– Shane Dixon Kavanaugh; 503-294-7632
Email to [email protected]
Follow on Twitter @shanedkavanaugh
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