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That didn't take long. Candidates are already announcing and contributions are flowing for the 2018 elections.


The 2016 general election wasn't even a month old before the campaigns for the two City Council seats that come up in 2018 began.

First, Commissioner Dan Saltzman announced he will run for a sixth term on the council. Rumored opponents include Jo Ann Hardesty, a former state legislator and a police accountability activist.

Although Saltzman currently has less than $5,000 in his campaign checking account, he is a very effective fundraiser. In 2013, he led the campaign to renew the Portland Children's Levy, which he sponsored. It collected more than $415,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.

Then Willamette Week reported that Portland Tenants United founder Margot Black will run for Commissioner Nick Fish's seat, saying, "He needs a strong challenger." Fish has not yet announced for re-election and only has a little over $1,000 in the bank right now. He raised more than $100,000 when he ran for re-election in 2014, however.

Of course, underfunded candidate Chloe Eudaly's upset of Commissioner Steve Novick in November proves money isn't everything in Portland politics.

Not all winners are created equal

It's not unusual for candidates who win elections to receive large contributions before their terms begin. That's true for both incumbents and first-time winners. Chloe Eudaly, the small business owner who defeated Commissioner Steve Novick at the November general election, appears to be an exception, however.

Since she won, Eudaly has, so far, reported receiving less than $4,000 in contributions. The largest was $1,000 from Voodoo Doughnut co-owner Richard Shannon. Most were under $100.

In contrast, state Treasurer Ted Wheeler, who was elected mayor at the May primary election, received $15,000 from the Local Electricians 48 PAC alone in October. House Speaker Tina Kotek, who was re-elected to her Portland district, received $2,500 from Electric Entertainment in Los Angeles.

Even former Portland Police Chief Mike Reese, who was elected Multnomah County sheriff in November, received $5,000 from Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control advocacy organization co-founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that month.

Covering their bets

Shortly before and after the November general election, some of the public employee unions on the losing side of the corporate sales tax fight donated tens of thousands of dollars to lawmakers who will serve in the 2017 Oregon Legislature.

For example, after polls were released showing Measure 97 would likely be defeated, the Oregon Education Association gave $30,000 to Future PAC, the political action committee operated by Oregon House Democrats.

The OEA also contributed $1,000 to Democratic state Sen. Mark Hass, who is expected to help broker any tax compromise next session, about that time.

And after the defeat of Measure 97, the Service Employees International Union gave $10,000 to Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, $1,000 to state Rep. Susan McLain, $5,000 to state Rep. Jennifer Williamson, and $5,000 to Mike Neaman, the only Republican to receive a post-election contribution.

Correction: The Service Employees International Union did not contribute $5,000 to Republican state Rep. Mike Neaman, as reported in the Sources Say column on Dec. 15. The union contributed to the independent Real Mike Nearman Committee, which unsuccessfully opposed his re-election.

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