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Portland Mayor’s Race: Why Wheeler is Clinton and Bailey is Sanders

Friday, March 11, 2016


The race for Mayor of Portland is looking more an more like a two person race and it seems to be a local version of the national race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. 

The campaign to be the Democratic Presidential nominee is getting more and more heated. Bernie Sanders upset win in Michigan has flipped the proverbial table on Hillary Clinton's plans to be the nominee. In Portland, the two leading candidates for Mayor are beginning to pick up the pace and the dialog.

GoLocalPDX presents a news analysis comparing Ted Wheeler and Jules Bailey and why Wheeler's efforts have many similarities to the Clinton campaign and juxtaposed to the similarities between Bailey's Mayor run and background and how it compares to Sanders.

As both the Democratic Presidential race and the battle to be the nominee for Mayor of Portland have their front runners, both seem to be unable to shake their challengers.

Sanders has raised tens of millions from small donors who support his effort to reform Wall Street and advance a wider progressive effort. Bailey is trying to run an outsider and more progressive effort behind the support of small donors and labor unions

Like Clinton, Wheeler has leveraged his solid Democratic connections to finance and build momentum as the front runner.


Related Slideshow: Why Wheeler is Clinton and Bailey is Sanders

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Like the Clinton fundraising machine, Wheeler’s campaign has been collecting cash at a steady and dominant pace. Wheeler has raked in more than $400,000.

In contrast, Jules Bailey has self-imposed a $250 per donor limit. Sound like someone? Sanders has raised $21 million in January and over $40 million in February — average donation for Sanders is under $30 dollars. Bailey like Sanders - focus on the small donor.  Wheeler like Clinton, large donors and looking for fundraising dominance.

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Wealth and Loans

Hillary and Bill Clinton have collected more than $100 million in speaking fees alone.  Hillary Clinton has received $675,000 from Goldman Sachs for three one hour speeches.

Wheeler, and his wife have been the major funder of his campaigns.  

Of the 20 largest donors to Wheeler’s campaigns over the years, twelve of the contributions have been loans from Ted or Katrina Wheeler. The largest loans to the campaign have been forgiven — more than $200,000.

In total, of the top 20 contributions to Wheeler’s campaigns since 2006, the Wheelers have made more than $500,000 in loans.

Wheeler and Clinton, both have access to significant resources.

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Wheeler and Clinton - Big Business

Make no mistake, Ted Wheeler has scores the bulks of the support of Portland's business establishment.

The Portland Business Alliance — the big business lobby and advocacy group in Portland has endorsed Ted Wheeler. In their endorsement they wrote,

“We are choosing to endorse Ted Wheeler, whose years at the head of two key government entities, Multnomah County and the Oregon Treasury, makes him best prepared to lead our city and deal with such issues as homelessness and housing affordability. We believe he will unite disparate voices under one vision for what Portland can be.

Over the years, the group has a mixed record of picking (or helping their candidates win). 

The Portland Business Alliance Have Selected in the Past:

In 2012 Eileen Brady (she finished 3rd in the race)

In 2008 Co-Endorsed

In 2004  Jim Francesconi (he finished 2nd to Tom Potter)

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Union Support

The race for the Democratic nomination for President has been a bit of a conundrum for America’s labor unions. Both Clinton and Sanders have won their share of union endorsements. The nurses are all about Sanders.

Unions in Nevada, with pressure from United Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, delivered for Clinton the Nevada Caucus.

In Portland, Bailey has been winning the majority of union endorsements, but Wheeler has scored his share. Bailey by many of the unions is perceived to be the more progressive candidate.

Teachers for Bailey. AFSCME split their endorsement. Portland Police for Bailey. 

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Professional Experience

Like Sanders, Bailey has spent nearly his entire adult life as a student or as an elected official. Neither Bailey or Sanders ever worked for a significant period of time in business or for a private or public private business concern.

Wheeler and Clinton have had far more varied careers. Wheeler, as GoLocal has previously reported, worked more than ten years as a banker (Bank of America), a real estate investor, and as a Vice President in a private banking firm.


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