As candidates in next year’s 12 City Council races flood the zone, the city’s Small Donor Elections program—which matches small contributions to candidates with taxpayer dollars by up to 9 to 1—is worried it won’t have the budget next year to meet its obligations. (Between 50 and 100 candidates are expected to run for City Council in 2024; see our cover story.)
The program is asking for an additional $4.2 million from the city to prepare for the influx of candidates. But Mayor Ted Wheeler hasn’t included the request in the upcoming fall budget monitoring process, nor has he indicated he will include it in next year’s budget.
“If there is an extreme funding shortfall, match caps will have to be lowered accordingly, disrupting the program’s purpose of reducing the actual and perceived influence of large financial contributions,” Susan Mottet, the program’s director, tells WW.
Mayoral spokesman Cody Bowman says the mayor’s office is monitoring the program’s budget needs and will “assess additional funding” next year.
“That decision will be largely influenced by financial forecasts we will receive later this year,” Bowman says.