After being prompted by an accountability group, Portland NAACP President Rev. E.D. Mondainé said Friday night that he and the Portland NAACP do not endorse Mayor Ted Wheeler in the upcoming election, contrary to a political action committee, and the mayor himself, stating otherwise.
“The NAACP has not, and will not, take a position in the Portland Mayor’s race,” Mondainé said in a statement. “Furthermore, neither I in my position as President, nor the NAACP as an organization, have issued any kind of formal endorsement in the mayoral race.”
In his statement, Mondainé said an article earlier this week from Willamette Week “insinuated” that he and the NAACP had endorsed Wheeler and that the organization was making financial contributions to the incumbent mayor through a newly formed political action committee, called United For Portland.
As of Saturday morning, there was no endorsement from Mondainé or the NAACP on the United For Portland website, but an archived version of the website from Thursday did show a prominently featured endorsement from Mondainé as well as the NAACP’s logo included as one of the group’s coalition members.
“We need leaders like Mayor Wheeler who will take strong actions in support of racial and economic justice, support peaceful protests, while rejecting the politics of hate and all forms of political violence,” the quote from Mondainé previously read on the website.
That statement was also featured in a press release United For Portland sent out Wednesday. Wheeler himself also noted that he was endorsed by the NAACP in a mayoral debate hosted by The Oregonian and KGW earlier this week.
In his statement Friday night, Mondainé said he has participated in conversations about the future of Portland as a private citizen and as a community leader, but not as the president of the NAACP.
“There is much truth in the dangers of changing leadership in the midst of dual pandemics as well as potential hazards, especially given the instability and uncertainty of our world right now, and I have said as much many times,” he said in his statement.
Rise Up PDX, an accountability group formed by members of Portland’s NAACP branch, released a statement Friday afternoon noting that it would be a violation in the NAACP’s bylaws for Mondainé to make any endorsements in his capacity as NAACP president, or on the behalf of the organization itself.
“These actions have damaged the reputation and standing of the Portland branch of the NAACP in the Portland community and with members,” Rise Up PDX wrote in its statement. “We are dismayed that President Mondainé and the mayor, who has identified himself as a member of the branch, would jeopardize the organization for their personal gain.”
In his statement, Mondainé said he is aware of NAACP rules against endorsements and “would not tolerate any violation of the organization’s bylaws.”