Portland, Oregon, mayor declares win after tight contest

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The mayor of Portland, Oregon, declared victory Wednesday after a bruising marketing campaign that sandwiched him between a troublesome challenger to his political left and anger from reasonable voters and enterprise house owners annoyed with 5 months of near-nightly protests that made the town a frequent lightning rod for President Donald Trump.

Mayor Ted Wheeler stated he had a transparent mandate with greater than 90% of the vote counted and was energized by his win. If his lead holds, Wheeler would turn out to be the primary mayor to win a second time period within the notoriously hard-to-govern metropolis in 20 years. The Related Press has not but declared a winner.

Challenger Sarah Iannarone, who has by no means held an elected workplace, stated late Tuesday that she was going to mattress and urged her supporters to attend till each vote had been counted. She stated Wednesday she would make an announcement on social media later within the day, however provided few particulars.

Write-in candidates received a whopping 13% of the vote. Supporters of Black Lives Matter activist Teressa Raiford, who didn’t make it previous the first, ran an unauthorized write-in marketing campaign that helped account for the excessive quantity.

Wheeler acknowledged Wednesday in a wide-ranging information convention that the town faces great challenges after a summer season and fall roiled by near-constant protests that made Portland a spotlight of Trump’s marketing campaign requires regulation and order in Democratic-led cities. That rhetoric drew right-wing teams to Portland a number of occasions for rallies that incessantly led to violence, together with the slaying of a Trump supporter in August.

Companies within the metropolis’s central core have been hit exhausting by the mix of protests and the pandemic. Storefronts in a lot of the downtown core are boarded up and streets largely empty. There may be additionally a homeless disaster that has turn out to be extra seen amid COVID-19, and metropolis leaders lately introduced that they didn’t have sufficient winter shelter area with social distancing necessities in play.

“We’d be silly if we claimed we had some monopoly on the reality,” Wheeler stated. “I’ll work with anybody and I’ll hearken to anybody who needs to work with us to maneuver this metropolis ahead.”

Wheeler, inheritor to a timber firm fortune, fumbled early within the marketing campaign as he tried to appease enterprise house owners and reasonable voters whereas additionally trying to retain the help of these to his left. Left-leaning progressives criticized the police response to protests as overly aggressive and have been annoyed that Wheeler — who can also be police commissioner — didn’t ban using tear fuel till late summer season.

In the meantime, political newcomer Iannarone tapped into the protest power — at one level declaring “I’m Antifa” — and her enchantment with far-left, progressive voters indignant on the police response to the unrest galvanized her marketing campaign.

She supported $50 million in cuts to the Portland Police Bureau price range and slammed Wheeler for not doing the identical.

Since Might, Portland has minimize about $15 million from the police price range, together with a gun violence discount group, transit police and a college useful resource officer program. Wheeler resisted strain to remove extra from the bureau’s almost $250 million price range and not using a security internet for psychological well being and homelessness calls that police deal with each day.

Final week, Wheeler requested for extra time to think about one other $18 million in police cuts, successfully delaying the crucial vote till after the election. That call led the town’s solely Black councilwoman, who had remained impartial within the race, to endorse Iannarone within the marketing campaign’s ultimate days.

Wheeler, out of cash, lent himself $150,000 and received last-minute help from an impartial coalition of environmental teams, unions and enterprise leaders who financed a surge of promoting within the marketing campaign’s ultimate two weeks.

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Observe Gillian Flaccus on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gflaccus