Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone says she’s hit a major fundraising target: She has enough small donations to qualify for the city’s new taxpayer-funded elections program.
This is the first campaign cycle during which Portland will be giving out matching dollars to candidates who opt into the program.
To qualify, candidates for mayor have to get at least 500 individuals in Portland to donate at least $5.
Sarah Iannarone is self-reporting that her campaign passed that threshold a few days ago.
The city's Open and Accountable Elections program won't start certifying candidates — and verifying if their donations qualify for matches — until mid-September.
The program is meant to encourage campaigns to focus on grassroots fundraising. It pays out public matching dollars at a six-to-one ratio for the first $50 of small contributions from Portlanders.
In exchange, candidates agree to fundraising limits, including capping donations at $250 per person during the primary and general elections and only taking money from individuals — not businesses, unions, or PACs.
Iannarone’s campaign has reported raising $26,978 in election filings with the Oregon Secretary of State.
The campaign believes $13,709 of that will qualify for the city's six-to-one match, netting it $82,254 in public funding.
Whether all those donations will qualify for the match is hard to independently verify: Oregon's campaign finance reporting system allows candidates to aggregate small donations of $100 or less instead of reporting them individually.
If the campaign's figures are accurate, it would put Iannarone almost neck and neck with Mayor Ted Wheeler.
Wheeler has $117,539 in his campaign account. He's raised just $5,510 this year from a small handful of donors, including a single $5,000 contribution from Pepsico.
The remainder in his campaign account is money left over from his previous campaigns, including loans Wheeler and his wife made to the campaign.