A Portland City Council candidate is financing her campaign with donations and loans from her longtime partner.
Felicia Williams, a neighborhood association president, has received a $41,000 cash donation this year as well as $4,000 in cash and a $20,000 loan last year from Erik Tucker, who is also an executive at the company where she works.
That makes Tucker the largest donor so far in the race to replace City Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
“Erik and I have been together for 17 years,” Williams emails. “When I told him that reporters, unions, and endorsers only cared about how much money was in my OreStar account, Erik’s response was, ‘Let’s put enough money in to end that discussion so they can focus on issues instead of cash.’
“The future of Portland is worth more than a few thousand bucks,” she adds.
Williams is a business manager for a biotech start-up, Aronora, Inc., where Tucker is co-founder and chief operating officer. The pair also serve on the Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association together. She is president; he is secretary.
The donations from Tucker constitute the vast majority of the money the cash she’s raised so far.
Oregon law sets no campaign donation limits, but in practice Portland races rarely see funding donations and loans this large.
In 2013, City Commissioner Amanda Fritz forgave a $123,418.15 loan to her own campaign for reelection. Eileen Brady, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2012, forgave a $336,004.50 loan to her campaign.
Williams is running against NAACP of Portland president Jo Ann Hardesty, mayoral staffer Andrea Valderrama, architect Stuart Emmons and Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith.