Seven City Council Candidates Qualify for Matching Taxpayer Funds

All seven are progressive candidates.

Angelita Morillo is one of seven candidates to obtain matching funds. (Allison Barr)

Seven candidates vying for spots on the 12-member City Council next year have qualified for $40,000 in matching taxpayer funds from the city’s Small Donor Elections program, which matches small campaign contributions by as much as 9 to 1.

Candidates who have unlocked the $40,000 include Hunger Free Oregon policy advocate Angelita Morillo, Oregon Recovers board member Jesse Cornett, and former legislative chief of staff Robin Ye in District 3; the founder of Rose City Chess, Chad Lykins, in District 4; and transportation advocate Steph Routh, Verde executive director Candace Avalos, and former City Hall staffer and transportation planner Timur Ender in District 1.

All of these candidates skew progressive. None of the moderate candidates—some of whom launched their campaigns only recently—have unlocked matching funds yet.

Candidates must receive small contributions from 250 donors to unlock the first tier of matching funds, which is $40,000. To unlock the second tier of $80,000, candidates must reach 750 donors. To open the third tier of $120,000, candidates must reach 1,250 donors.

The Portland Elections Commission lowered the program’s matching limits in January in anticipation of dozens more candidates running than is typical in an election cycle and due to the program’s stagnant budget. This occurred after program director Susan Mottet unsuccessfully asked the Portland City Council for more money so the program could maintain previous match limits for candidates—$750,000 for mayoral candidates and up to $300,000 for City Council candidates—but the council has offered no such funding yet.

The new match limit for City Council candidates is $120,000. The current match limit for mayoral candidates is $100,000. If the City Council does increase the program’s budget, the Elections Commission will revisit match limits and could adjust accordingly.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Chad Lykins is running in District 2. He is running in District 4. WW regrets the error.

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