Mingus Mapps, the former city employee and political science professor, made a big step forward today in his challenge to incumbent Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.

Mapps became the first of five candidates challenging Eudaly in the May primary to qualify for public financing under the city's new Open and Accountable Elections program.

That allows Mapps to collect matching funds in a ratio of 6 to 1 from the city and to spend up to $250,000 for the primary. (Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannerone and Carmen Rubio, a candidate in the District 1 race to succeed Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who is retiring, both qualified for public money in October.)

"I want to thank the hundreds of Portlanders who have donated to our campaign," Mapps said in a statement. "You are helping prove that 'Big Money' does not have to dominate Portland politics. Our campaign is complying with the donation limits passed by Portland voters, and I challenge the other candidates in this race to do the same. I am humbled and honored at the outpouring of grassroots support."

Eudaly's re-election bid, in contrast, is off to a slow start. She has not yet filed to run or hired a campaign manager and although her office says she intends to meet the Jan. 15 deadline for filing for public funding, she has not yet done so.