Could Wheeler Be Vulnerable to a Challenge from the Left?
Monday, November 02, 2015
“I think Wheeler could really struggle with a challenge from his left,” John Horvick, Vice President and Political Director of DHM Research, a Portland-based political research and polling firm. “Both he and Charlie Hales, before Hales decided not to run, aren’t part of the further left part of the party. I think if someone really challenged him as a liberal and a progressive that he could be vulnerable to that.”
Since stepping off the campaign trail, Hales has remained vocal about the campaign, saying that he would like to see a strong challenger enter the race, and mentoring liberal leaders such as Marissa Madrigal, Multnomah County’s COO, and community organizers from the Lents neighborhood.
"The filing deadline is still over four months away, and I hope and expect that several qualified candidates will seek the office of mayor," Hales said in a statement announcing the end of his campaign. "There are some dynamic new leaders in our community, and I'm excited to see who steps up."
Following National Trends
Horvick said that he believes the city would support an outsider candidate in the same way they have supported outsiders in the 2016 Presidential primaries.
“I think that if you look at national trends, outsider candidates that find themselves at the more extreme end of the spectrum have found a lot of success, and I think the city could follow those trends,” Horvick said.
Horvick cited the reception that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I) received when he visited Portland earlier this year.
Len Bergstein, a political analyst and President of Northwest Strategies, Inc., agreed with Horvick, saying that Portland would respond to a candidate that bucked the status quo of politicians in the area.
“Both Ted Wheeler and Charlie Hales are just middle-aged white guys, and I think there’s a lot of people that want to see something different in the city,” Bergstein told GoLocal. “I think there is a big hunger in Portland for someone who would fill a different lane.”
Wheeler himself embraced the title of progressive, and called on Hales to show his liberal credentials, during his campaign announcement speech on September 10.
“It’s not enough to call yourself a progressive, or an activist, or a leader when so many of the basic things that make a community thriving and successful aren’t getting done,” Wheeler said. “You can’t claim to be a progressive if you’re not making progress on helping the homeless get off the streets, into transitional housing with the mental health care or intervention they need to stay off the streets. You can’t wear the mantle of activism when you have not taken action on creating economic opportunities for the entire city.”
Jake Weigler, Wheeler’s campaign spokesman, told GoLocal that Wheeler has done plenty to show his liberal credentials and that he plans on doing more to probe his progressivism as the campaign continues.
"Ted will be happy to stack up his record of progressive results with anyone," Weigler said. "Ted committed Oregon to doubling its investment in renewable energy technologies; pioneered a revolutionary retirement plan that will protect middle and working-class families; and led the first Oregon jurisdiction to ban the box and offer health benefits to the transgender employees. He launched his campaign pledging to make progress on the challenges we face and we look forward to continuing the discussion in the campaign to come."
Related Slideshow: SLIDESHOW: Ted Wheeler Announces Portland Mayoral Candidacy on Rooftop of Revolution Hall
Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler was joined by the press and many close friends, family members, and supporters on the rooftop of Revolution Hall off of SE Stark so that he could officially make his candidacy announcement for Portland mayor in the 2016 mayoral race.
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