A poll released this morning by Commissioner Amanda Fritz's re-election campaign shows the incumbent with a strong 26-point lead over her challenger, former state House Speaker Mary Nolan, a prodigious fundraiser with deep ties to the political establishment. It's encouraging, except for one caveat: 43 percent of the 403 voters surveyed (two points more than back Fritz) say they're undecided.
The survey (PDF), conducted October 2-5 by Oakland firm Goodwin Simon, has a 4.9 percentage point margin of error.
Fritz's campaign notes she's even polled strong in what it calls Nolan's home base, the west hills and downtown. And the poll also shows Fritz—no doubt thanks to her incumbency—is better known. She's also better liked, comparatively.
But Nolan can spend quickly to change that. She's reported $102,000 in contributions so far, and has nearly $76,000 still in the bank to spend. Fritz, meanwhile, has reported just more than $34,000 in contributions despite announcing weeks before Nolan, with $25,000 of that a personal loan.
Update 11/2: For the record, it's worth clarifying that Fritz didn't actually start raising money until after Nolan did, and that some of Nolan's war chest was converted from her House campaign account. Additionally, Fritz has capped donations at $50; Nolan has not.
And what about Nigel Jaquis' report late last night that Police Chief Mike Reese is planning to run for mayor, as soon as this week? (Humorously, WW's website seems to have been attacked; maybe because of their "exploitation of Occupy Portland" post?) WW didn't talk to the chief. But the O's Maxine Bernstein did on Monday, and in a story the O quickly scrambled to post he denied the rumor—although not explicitly—and, she says, left the door open for a run in a few more years.
That Reese is being groomed for a future political career by friends and allies like Commissioner Randy Leonard is an open secret at city hall and in political consultant circles. But I've also heard from sources in recent weeks that the timing of the mayor's race wouldn't be right—no matter how little traction the current three candidates, Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales, and Jefferson Smith, appear to be gaining with voters.
The chief's office confirms there'll be some sort of press conference today—but whether it will be an announcement, or just to talk down the hubbub, remains to be seen.