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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Holds a 7-Point Lead Over Sarah Iannarone

Wheeler hopes to become Portland’s first two-term mayor in 20 years.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is poised to capture a second term, after a rancorous runoff that tested how far leftward the city wanted to go.

Shortly after 8 pm election night, Multnomah County elections officials released results showing Wheeler with a 47% to 41% lead over challenger Sarah Iannarone.

The second update, at about 9:40 pm, didn't change the numbers, leaving Wheeler with a lead of 20,221 votes, with about 25,000 votes still to be counted.

Wheeler, a former Multnomah County chair and state treasurer, came within a point of winning reelection outright in May, but Iannarone worked hard over the summer to capitalize on five months of protests—and the uneven and often brutal response to those protests by the Portland Police Bureau, which Wheeler oversees as police commissioner.

Iannarone closed the gap and, according to a late September poll, climbed to an 11-point lead over Wheeler. That poll awoke Wheeler's supporters, who papered over his campaign's failure to raise money by forming an independent expenditure committee that quickly raised $535,000 to rescue him. That money allowed him to equal Iannarone's impressive work as the city's first publicly financed mayoral candidate. She recorded 7,272 contributions from nearly 4,000 donors, allowing her to speak to voters even during the pandemic.

Teressa Raiford, founder of Don't Shoot Portland and the third-place finisher in the May primary, ran a write-in campaign. Tonight, the numbers showed that write-in votes were a factor—12.5% of voters wrote in somebody other than Wheeler or Iannarone.