Former Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey has filed a complaint with the Oregon Elections Division, alleging that Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone is misrepresenting her educational credentials.
Bailey's complaint follows a story in WW that examined whether Iannarone was transparent in her characterization of her academic bona fides. In the May and November Voters' Pamphlets, Iannarone described her educational background as "Ph.D. (ABD)"—which means "all but dissertation."
In his Sept. 16 complaint to the Elections Division, Bailey contends the "ABD" term is meaningless.
"ABD has no official meaning to academic institutions," he writes. "There is no such thing as a Ph.D. (ABD) credential. ABD simply means Iannarone did not complete her doctoral program, and therefore has not earned the degree she claims to have. Including the ABD is akin to adding an asterisk that she hopes voters won't notice or understand. In fact, the inclusion of (ABD) is proof that this was an intentionally misleading action by Ms. Iannarone."
Under Oregon law, making a false statement in the Voters' Pamphlet is a felony.
Bailey's complaint, which cites WW's cover story, was first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Iannarone's campaign says the complaint is piddling.
"Voters are tired of tacky political games when our city is in crisis," said campaign manager Gregory McKelvey. "This is a cheap ploy by opponents of our campaign. Sarah is Ph.D. ABD, a term easily Googled."
Nearly as interesting as the complaint is who filed it. Bailey ran for mayor in 2016, finishing a distant second to Ted Wheeler. Iannarone, a late entry to the 2016 mayor's race, siphoned off some of the support Bailey expected from the left.
Bailey is now the chief stewardship officer of the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, but filed the elections complaint as a private citizen.
Iannarone appears to be gaining ground on Wheeler as Election Day approaches. Wheeler himself is no stranger to elections complaints this cycle: He's had 13 filed against him, many of them by Iannarone's supporters.