Mayor Charlie Hales Keeps Flashing Money Amid Whispers of Ted Wheeler Running Against Him

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales continues to flex his fundraising muscles, even as whispers increase that his path to reelection in 2016 could include a serious opponent.

On Wednesday, Hales disclosed $5,750 in campaign contributions, bringing his total fundraising in the past two months to more than $35,000.

It's the third time in less than a month that Hales has disclosed donations long before campaign law required.

The latest disclosure came hours after WW reported Wednesday morning that representatives of the Portland business community have reached out to State Treasurer Ted Wheeler to gauge his interest in running for mayor.

Wheeler, whose chances of running for Oregon governor dimmed with the elevation of Gov. Kate Brown, is non-committal about challenging Hales.

"I have been approached by lots of people about lots of opportunities," he told WW this week, "but it would be premature to comment on any of them. I haven't ruled anything in and I haven't ruled anything out."

Portland Business Alliance president Sandra McDonough declined to say whether her organization had talked to Wheeler about a mayoral bid.

"The election is two years off," McDonough tells WW. "There's going to be a lot speculation in the next two years about who is and isn't running for mayor, and I'm not going to engage in that."

Hales' office, which has refused to confirm whether Hales is running in 2016, declined comment.

Other political figures rumored to be possible 2016 challengers to Hales include Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and former Portland Police Chief Mike Reese.

In trying to ward off potential opponents, Hales has turned to his base: real-estate investors and developers.

Hales' latest donors include freight giant Con-Way, which is developing large swaths of its property in Slabtown, and Mississippi Avenue developer-cum-arts patron Brian Wannamaker, who has been called "the Medici of Portland." Both gave Hales $1,000 this week.

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