State Watch

Portland mayor trailing by 11 points in reelection bid

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) is polling 11 points behind opponent Sarah Iannarone ahead of the November general election, according to reports from the independent data firm DHM Research, despite handily beating her in the primary earlier this year. 

Portland newspaper Willamette Week reported Monday that the DHM results showed that among those surveyed, Wheeler polls at 30 percent compared to Iannarone’s 41 percent. About 16 percent of voters favored a write-in candidate, while 13 percent were undecided.  

The poll, which was conducted by phone from Sept. 17 to 22 and reported a 4-point margin of error, comes after Iannarone came in 20 points behind the mayor in May’s primary election. 

Portland uses a nonpartisan voting system for local elections, with all candidates listed without party affiliations on ballots. 

Wheeler has faced increased scrutiny over his handling of racial justice protests in the city, with demonstrators continuously clashing with police following the police killings of Black Americans in other cities including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Lexington, Ky. 

President Trump has repeatedly decried conditions in Portland specifically, and this summer his administration deployed federal law enforcement to the city.

Last week, the Portland mayor asked the U.S. attorney’s office to end the federal deputation of police officers there. 

In September, 56 Portland officers were deputized before a rally by the far-right group Proud Boys. According to The Associated Press, city officials said they did not know the designation would last for the remainder of the year. 

“A key feature of the designation is that anyone who assaults a federally deputized official could be subject to federal charges,” Wheeler said in a statement to federal officials. “Fortunately, I am confident the Multnomah County district attorney will continue to prosecute anyone who assaults or otherwise harms police officers or others.”

The mayor’s campaign told Willamette Week that its internal polling shows the mayor is likely to win in November. 

“Most voters are just tuning in to this race, and that’s why such a large number of respondents in this poll are undecided,” campaign spokesman Danny O’Halloran told the local outlet. “We are confident that once voters have the opportunity to get to know both candidates, these numbers move decisively in Ted’s direction.”

Iannarone has vocally criticized Wheeler’s response to the ongoing protests in the city, saying in August that the mayor has not done enough to ensure trust in Portland’s police department. 

“What I see when they are protesting is, they are afraid of police brutality, so if we stop that and let people fighting for Black Lives Matter and show them they are safe, I don’t think we will even see petty vandalism,” Iannarone told ABC’s Portland affiliate KATU. “What they are saying is we want a commitment that you are going to address our feelings and solve our problems, but we haven’t heard anything from him, and that speaks volumes.”

Tags Breonna Taylor deaths in police custody DHM Research Donald Trump George Floyd Oregon police brutality police killings Portland Portland Police Department Portland protests racial justice protests Sarah Iannarone ted wheeler Willamette Week

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