$1.65 million already raised for Portland City Council races
Over $1.65 million has reportedly been raised in the two Portland City Council races by the Tuesday, May 17, primary election day.
The total will likely be far larger when all the filings are completed with the Oregon Secretary of State's Office in the weeks following the election.
The most money has reportedly been raised in the hotly contested Position 3 race pitting incumbent Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty against attorney and business owner Rene Gonzalez, federal administrative law judge Vadim Mozyrsky, and a handful of other active candidates.
The candidates have reported raising $864,843 to state election officials by Tuesday morning.
Hardesty, Gonzalez and Mozyrsky are all participating in the city's Small Donor Program that matches small contributions with public funds. Gonzalez has reported raising the most money, $335,207. Hardesty was in second place with $291,128 and Mozyrsky was third with $232,404.
Mozyrsky is also supported by the independent Portland United political action committee that is largely backed by the business community. It has reported spending $184,174 to support Mozyrsky.
The Portland Association of Teachers paid $20,000 for a mailing supporting Hardesty.
No other candidate raised more than $2,435.
During the primary election, Mozyrsky and Gonzalez criticized Hardesty for pushing the City Council to cut the Portland Police Bureau budget by $15 million during the social justice protests following the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by the Minneapolis police. The cuts included disbanding the Gun Violence Reduction Team, which had repeatedly been accused of disproportionately focusing on the Black community. Shootings and homicides have surged since the team was disbanded. Mozyrsky and Gonzalez charged the cuts contributed to the increases, which Hardesty denied, noting that shootings have increased in many cities over the past two years.
Hardesty has also cited her accomplishments on the council, including championing the Portland Street Response program that provides non-police responses to non-emergency 911 calls.
Hardesty was first elected to the council in the November 2018 election when she defeated former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith with 61.8% of the vote. The two finished first and second in the May primary election but neither received more than 50% of the vote to win it outright. The seat had previously been held by former Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who did not run for reelection.
In the Position 2 race, incumbent Commissioner Dan Ryan is being challenged by Black activist and non-profit organization director Alanna Joy (AJ) McCreary and a handful of other active candidates.
All candidates have reported raising $431,112 by Tuesday morning.
Both Ryan and McCreary are participating in the city's Small Donor Program that matches small donations with public funds. Ryan has reported raising $279,834 to date and McCreary has reported $146,679.
Ryan is also supported by the independent Portland United political action committee that is largely backed by the business community. It has reported $84,135 to support Ryan.
No other candidate reported raising more than $2,831.
Ryan was elected to fill the late Commissioner Nick Fish's unexpired term at the Aug. 11, 2020, special election. He defeated former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith by a relatively narrow margin of 51.2% to 48%, with roughly 1% of the vote going to write-in candidates in final unofficial results. The run-off election was necessary because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote at the May 3, 2020, primary election. Smith finished with 18.8% of the vote and Ryan finished second with 16%.
McCreary is the founder and executive director of the Equitable Giving Circle, a nonprofit organization who stated goal is building equity throughout Portland's BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) communities.
The Portland United PAC is largely funded by downtown development and business interests. It reported raising over $326,000 by election day.
The Oregonian has reported the committee intended to raise and spend approximately $700,000 to support Mozyrsky and Ryan, far more than has been officially reported by May 17.
The elections will be won by any candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate receives a majority, the top two vote-getters will face off in the Nov. 8 general election.
The results of these and other races may not be known for days. Mail-in ballots are due at elections offices by 8 p.m. on Tuesday but will still be counted if they are postmarked by May 17 and arrive up to one week later.
The Portland Tribune endorsements in the May 17 primary election can be found here.
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.