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Alex Zielinski

The campaign to recall Mayor Ted Wheeler is falling behind.

In a Wednesday press release, the Total Recall campaign explained that it has only collected 5,926 signatures from Portlanders who support the recall in the first 26 days since its campaign kicked off. That leaves the group with just over 50 days left to gather the 41,862 remaining signatures needed to get the recall on a citywide ballot.

Per city election rules, the campaign has until October 6 to collect the total 47,788 valid signatures needed to spur a recall election. The campaign is aiming to collect at least 65,000 by that deadline, just to be safe.

According to campaign manager Audrey Caines, Total Recall originally hoped to collect 20,000 signatures during the campaign's first month. Caines said that goal was likely missed due to the rise in COVID-19 Delta cases across Portland and hot weather.

Now, Caines said, the group needs to collect at least 20,000 more signatures within the next two weeks—by August 25—to "realign" with its internal goals. To get there, Caines said the campaign needs either more donations to pay for signature-gathering staff or more volunteers—or both.

"Without monetary and volunteer support, this recall will not be successful at removing the most unpopular mayor in a generation,” said Caines in the press release. "Worse, it will send a signal that Portland is powerless when a Mayor cheats campaign finance laws, wastes money on ineffective solutions to houselessness, and ignores constituents.”

Total Recall is now calling on the public to make financial pledges to help raise $75,000 by August 21. The press release notes that the campaign won't collect those pledged dollars "until campaign leaders are certain the goal of 65,000 signatures is still possible."

According to the campaign's internal calculations, it has collected $92,747 in donations thus far. The Oregon Secretary of State's campaign finance records show that the Total Recall PAC has accrued $90,016 in donations (though the website hasn't updated its data since August 1).

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The recall campaign has little formal opposition, yet a "Fans of Ted Wheeler" Instagram account popped up in June to share the hashtag #norecall. The account currently has 11 followers. Its creator did not respond to the Mercury's request for additional information. Wheeler's campaign committee, the Friends of Ted Wheeler PAC, has seen little activity since his November election—but Wheeler did drop $2,000 into the campaign in June.

Caines remains confident in Total Recall's ability to reach its coming deadlines.

“The immense popularity of the recall is evident," said Caines, "and we are confident that using full transparency to motivate volunteers and donors to pledge will translate that popularity into a success.”

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