Just Like Voters, the Money for This May's Election Hasn't Arrived

Turnout remains below 15 percent with less than five days until ballots are counted.

(Joe Glode)

Two years ago, a hotly contested Portland Public Schools board race saw incumbent Bobbie Regan raise $181,000 and challenger and eventual winner Amy Kohnstamm raise $129,000 for the Zone 3 seat.

None of this year's three races are seeing that kind of financial investment.

In a battle between two parent activists in Zone 4, Scott Bailey has raised $33,000 and has $7,000 on hand. His opponent, Virginia La Forte, who forced PPS to address lead paint on playgrounds, has raised $12,000 and has $7,000 on hand.

In Zone 5, Jamila Singleton Munson, a Teach for America staffer, has raised $104,000 and has $21,000 on hand, while her opponent, Rita Moore, a longtime district volunteer has raised $51,000 and has $18,000 on hand.

In Zone 6, only former board member Julia Brim Edwards has raised substantial money. She's raised $41,000 and spent $51,000 leaving her currently with $10,000 in accounts payable.

The biggest item on the local May ballot is Measure 26-193, the $790 million bond for Portland Public Schools. Filings with the elections division show that bond proponents have raised $426,000 and have $143,000 on hand as they head into the final weekend. That's a little bit less than the bond committee raised in 2012 to pass a $482 million bond.

There is no organized opposition to this year's bond measure, which would fund safety fixes across the district's 90 buildings and the renovation and rebuilding of four schools.

With a little more than four days until ballots in the May 16 election are counted, turnout in Multnomah County is just below 15 percent, according to the latest figures from the county elections division.

That's pretty weak, although ahead of the pace from the most recent off-year election in May 2015. That year, turnout nearly doubled in the last five days before ballots were counted, which suggests turn-out this year could creep in the mid- to high 20s before Tuesday night at 8 pm when the last ballots will be accepted.

Related: Read WW's endorsements for the May 2017 election here.

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