Tag Archives: Common Cause Oregon

Big money, big stakes in Portland’s mayoral race

by Janice Thompson, contributing writer

Eileen Brady is the fundraising leader in the Portland mayoral race with $975,525 in contributions followed by $538,494 raised by Charlie Hales and $408,675 in contributions to Jefferson Smith. (These dollar amounts reflect contributions reported through April 20 At this point in the election, campaign finance contributions and spending must be reported within seven days on ORESTAR, the online reporting system. These figures will be different by the time this article appears in print due to Oregon’s continuous reporting system.)

 Size of Contributions Analysis

There are several other mayoral candidates but the fundraising angle of this article means the focus will be on Brady, Hales, and Smith. While Brady has raised more money, Smith has more contributors and a higher percentage of his fundraising is from donors giving $100 or less compared to Brady and Hales. Hales has about 800 fewer contributors than either Brady or Smith. Contributions from donors giving $1,000 or more particularly dominate fundraising by Brady and Hales. See Table 1.

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PDX mayoral race: Movers, shakers and moneymakers

From left to right: Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales, Jefferson Smith

By Janice Thompson, Contributing Columnist

The 2012 Portland mayoral primary season started earlier than usual (in the spring of 2011) when two candidates, Eileen Brady and Charlie Hales, formed their political action committees in anticipation of facing Mayor Sam Adams’s reelection bid. Comparatively, when Tom Potter ran for mayor in 2004 his first contribution came on Sept. 29, 2003, even though his major opponent was a City Council member, Jim Francesconi, with significant fundraising capacity.

Taking on an incumbent is tough so presumably Brady and Hales perceived Mayor Adams as more vulnerable than typical Portland incumbents. As reported by Willamette Week in January 2004, City Council incumbents had lost only five times in 121 contests since 1970. After Mayor Adams’ announcement that he wouldn’t run for re-election another candidate, Jefferson Smith, entered the race.

Though there are other mayoral candidates running for election, this analysis will focus on Brady, Hales, and Smith. This article focuses on these three, because, like it or not, the political reality is that viability is linked to fundraising capacity. Brady has raised the most money: $447,085 as reported through Jan. 2, followed by Hales with $249,037, and Smith with $155,358. Hales and Smith have spent less money, so their cash availability is $110,466 and $104,258, respectively, compared to Brady’s $147,959 campaign liquidity. (See Table 1.)

Smith started later than Brady and Hales, hence his current third place spot in the fundraising race. That Smith has the capacity to catch up with his opponents is indicated by his fundraising per day average of $1,425, which compares to daily fundraising averages of $1,796 and $1,107, respectively for Brady and Hales. These daily averages also indicate the role that fundraising plays in how candidates spend their time. Continue reading