Report: Portland mayor recall drive will fail

Portland

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler at City Hall, August 6, 2019 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — The petition drive to recall Mayor Ted Wheeler will reportedly fail to submit the required voter signatures by the Oct. 6 deadline.

As first reported by Willamette Week, the Total Recall political action committee asked Portland election officials for a 90-day extension to continue gathering signatures on Sept. 22. Committee treasurer Seth Woolley said highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 and the summer heat wave had made it impossible to collect the minimum number by this coming Wednesday.

According to Willamette Week, the recall campaign had only collected 13,000 of the required 48,000 signatures by Sept. 8. If enough signatures are filed on time, Wheeler would be placed on a recall ballot.

“Logistically, collecting that number of signatures is impossible, given the novel barriers we face,” Willamette Week reported Woolley as saying in the request.

Election officials denied the request on Sept. 24, saying social distancing requirements had been lifted and the most extreme temperatures had passed before the campaign launched its 90-day signature-gathering drive on July 8.

Portland Tribune and its parents, Pamplin Media Group, are KOIN 6 media partners.

“Had the extension been granted, it would have doubled the standard 90 days that recall campaigns have to collect signatures,” Willamette Week said.

The recall campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wheeler was reelected with 46% of the vote at the 2020 general election, defeating progressive urban planning advocate Sarah Iannarone, who received 41%. The remaining 13% went to write-in candidates. That plurality, though not a majority, was enough for Wheeler to win the election.

The recall campaign director is Iannarone’s campaign lawyer Alan Kessler. The committee was filed with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office less than three weeks after Wheeler was reelected by Woolley. A campaign finance reform activist, Woolley finished fifth with just 4% of the vote in May 2020 primary race to replace former Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.

A previous Portland Tribune story on the recall can be found here.

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