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Thursday, November 04, 2004

Small-donor Populism Defeats Big-Money Candidate in Portland Mayoral Race

On Tuesday, former police chief Tom Potter defeated city commissioner Jim Francesconi in the Portland mayor's race. Potter's electoral victory is a big win for supporters of true democracy.

Potter, who had accepted contributions of $25 or less for the primary race, raised his contribution limit to $100 for the general election in order to compete with Francesconi's $1 million warchest, much of which came in big chunks from developers and other corporate interests with business before the city.

Potter maintained the $100 limit throughout the race, despite pressure from state politicians and political consultants to go after bigger money. They made the usual arguments - that Potter would be cash-starved, that he couldn't advertise without tons of money, and that he wouldn't be able to get his message out without accepting big donations. They were wrong.

Hopefully Potter's win sends a message to candidates and supporters of small-donor populism across the country - if you stick to your guns, great victories are possible.

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