Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says he will not participate in Portland’s new public campaign financing program.
The program awards matching dollars to candidates who agree to take only money from individuals, not businesses or unions, and limit those contributions to $250 per donation. The matching dollars are paid for by the taxpayer-supported general fund.
In a written statement explaining his decision to opt out, Wheeler said he did not want to “divert limited taxpayer dollars to a newly-formed program at a time when we are asking more from our public employees, non-profit partners and law enforcement in the face of so many pressing challenges.”
Wheeler said he is committed to running a “grassroots” campaign.
During his previous campaign for mayor, Wheeler raised more than $850,000. An analysis by the Sightline Institute found that more than half of that came from just 400 large donations. Oregon has no limits on political contributions.
So far two candidates have opted in Portland’s public campaign financing and have racked up enough grassroots support to qualify for matching funds: mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone and City Council candidate Carmen Rubio.