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Hopefuls funding limits dont match

Adams, Dozono have different ideas on self-imposed cap
by: , The two leading candidates for mayor, city Commissioner Sam Adams (left) and business owner Sho Dozono, have different takes on what figure each agreed to as a fundraising limit.

Although both Sam Adams and Sho Dozono have promised to limit their cash fundraising in the mayor's race, Adams has set his limit nearly $28,000 higher than Dozono.

Dozono - who set his limit at $200,000 in the primary election - was surprised when told of Adams' higher limit by the Portland Tribune earlier this week.

'I didn't know that,' said Dozono, who had assumed Adams also was capping his contributions at $200,000 in the primary.

In fact, Adams set his fundraising limit at $227,295. Asked about it by the Portland Tribune, Adams said he previously has told the media about his higher limit, even though news of it was not widely reported.

'I've been clear about that when asked,' Adams said.

The misunderstanding is rooted in Dozono's failed attempt to qualify for public campaign funds under the city's Voter-Owned Election program.

Although City Auditor Gary Blackmer certified Dozono to receive a combined $200,000 in public and private funds, the decision was appealed to a state administrative law judge by three other mayoral candidates, including Adams.

The judge disqualified Dozono on March 20 after ruling that he had benefited from seeing the results of a $27,295 poll in the mayor's race before formally declaring for the office. According to the judge, the value of the poll violated the city program's limit of $12,000 for in-kind contributions.

Before the judge's ruling, Dozono tried to retain his public campaign funds by offering to allow other mayoral candidiates to spend $227,295 before applying for the additional matching funds available under the program. He first made the offer in a sworn statement submitted to Blackmer on Feb. 29.

'I am further willing to agree that should any other mayoral candidate raise $27,295 over the the $200,000 limit, I will not seek matching funds under the Campaign Finance Fund, 'Dozono wrote in the sworn statment.

Adams said he raised his contribution limit to $227,295 in response to that offer - a move that Dozono did not realize when he announced he would stay in the race March 24. The next day, Dozono issued a statement that assumed that both he and Adams were limiting their cash contributions to $200,000 in the primary.

'To stay true to our community and to the spirit of Voter-Owned Elections, I will accept no contributions over $500 to my campaign, and will pledge, like my opponent, to cap fundraising at $200,000,' Dozono said in the statement.

Told of Adams' current fundraising plans by the Portland Tribune, Dozono said he was disappointed - noting that Adams' campaign spent an estimated $10,000 on attorneys' fees challenging his receipt of the public campaign funds.

'He's trying to have it both ways,' Dozono said. 'First he tried to prevent me from receiving the public funds; now he's trying to use what I said then against me.'

Adams, however, said the higher limit was justified because of the value of the poll Dozono saw. Adams also accused Dozono of changing his position.

'This is not the first time Dozono has flipped on an issue,' Adams said. 'He put it out as an offer and I accepted it; now he's trying to say something different.'

After learning of Adams' higher contribution limit, Dozono said he would discuss it with his campaign advisers but hoped to keep his original $200,000 limit.

'I don't want to spend any more time raising money,' he said.

Dozono has, in fact, raised more money than Adams so far this year - $166,301 compared to $135,853, according to the most recent campaign finance filings.

But Adams also raised $54,000 last year, meaning that he has raised more money overall than Dozono - over $189,000 compared to $166,301 - and is rapidly appraoching the $200,000 mark with around four weeks to go in the campaign.

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