Progressive activists have created a Political Action Committee (PAC) to recall Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Dan Ryan.
The "Total Recall PAC" hopes to unseat both recently elected politicians because of their perceived resistance to police reform efforts within City Hall. In a Tuesday press release, the PAC accused Ryan of misleading voters who supported him in the August special election for pledging to support police accountability—but then voting against a proposal to shrink the Portland Police Bureau's $230 million budget by $18 million.
The PAC was founded on November 5 by two Portland transparency advocates: Lawyer Alan Kessler, known for challenging the city on public records requests, and Seth Woolley, a former city council candidate and campaign finance reform proponent.
“I voted for Dan Ryan because he led me to believe he was a staunch advocate for police reform,” said Kessler, in the press release. “After his refusal to vote for Commissioner Hardesty’s budget reduction amendment, I feel betrayed. I want my vote back. I want an apology.”
The press release also noted that in the November 3 election, Wheeler was re-elected with only 46 percent of the vote—meaning more Portlanders voted against Wheeler than for him.
“Wheeler ran a dirty campaign, violating multiple campaign-finance laws that nearly all of us voted for, and he still couldn't convince a majority of the city he should be mayor," said Athul Acharya, a local civil rights attorney, who is also quoted in the press release.
Total Recall PAC also has the support of Kat Mahoney, a Portland lawyer who's volunteered as a legal observer during the past five months of protests, and Mac Smiff, a racial justice activist and editor of We Out Here Magazine.
According to the state's guidelines, a recall election can only take place after a candidate has been in office for at least six months. Petitioners must first collect at least 35,925 signatures from registered Portland voters to force a recall election.
The PAC says it will start collecting signatures for the recall campaign next summer.