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