Raiford write-in campaign for Portland mayor launched

Civic Affairs

Local activist finished third with 8.4% of votes in primary election

Teressa Raiford of Don’t Shoot Portland says the new Center for Advocacy and Community Involvement is intended for a space open to the community. January 31, 2020 (KOIN/Danny Peterson).

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Supporters of local Black activist Teressa Raiford have launched a campaign to write her in for Portland mayor at the Nov. 3 general election. 

They include several people who worked on Raiford’s unsuccessful primary election campaign for mayor, where she received 18,310 votes and finished third with 8.4%. The two top finishers, Mayor Ted Wheeler and second-place finisher Sarah Iannarone, will face off at the Nov. 3 general election. 

“Since the primary, her support has grown exponentially,” former campaign worker Jacinda Padilla said of Raiford, the founder of Don’t Shoot PDX.

According to Padilla, the issues that Raiford has worked on for years have taken on new urgency since the death of African American George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25. There was not enough time for the movement to end systemic racism to significantly influence the May 19 primary election, Padilla said, but many new Raiford supporters have contacted her and other previous campaign workers since then. 

“The country is finally listening,” said Padilla. Other previous campaign workers who discussed the new effort with the Portland Tribune included Token Rose and Danny Cage. 

The group is forming a political action committee and has launched a website, WriteinTeressaRaiford.com. Among other things, it urges visitors to register to vote and “learn how to spell T-E-R-E-S-S-A’S name.” The website also includes a link to a change.org petition for people to commit to writing Raiford in for mayor in November. It had received over 600 of 1,000 requested signatures by Sunday, July 12. 

Padilla said Raiford has given permission for the write-in campaign but is not actively working on it because of other responsibilities. Don’t Shoot PDX is one of several civil rights organization that has filed a federal lawsuit over the Portland Police Bureau’s response to the ongoing nightly protests. 

Raiford did not respond to requests for comment. She previously received 3,000 write-in vote in the May 2016 race for Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese. 

Although Iannarone is challenging Wheeler from the left, Padilla said Portland should have a Black mayor who has been active on police accountability and related issues for years. 

“We don’t have to settle for the lesser of two evils,” Padilla said. “When you talk about wanting to elevate Black voices, you should support a Black woman.” 

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 News media partner

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