PDX Mayor 2020 Write In Teress Raiford


Can we really win a Write-in campaign?

Legally, yes, we just need the most votes for a single candidate! See ORS 254.500 & ORS 254.505.

Realistically? Also yes. Not long after the May 19th Primary, months of protests have highlighted the exact issues that were at the core of Teressa Raiford’s campaign. Portland is listening now. 

How many votes do we need?

Our goal is 200,000 write-in votes! Getting people to sign the pledge petition is a great way to confirm our likelihood of winning!

We want to be sure to spell her name correctly so that all votes are counted! TERESSA RAIFORD.

Is this going to end up just being a vote for Ted?

No way!

Ted has been rapidly losing popularity after too many undeniably harmful decisions he’s made. A recent poll indicated nearly 2 in 3 Portland voters shows unfavorable viewings of Ted Wheeler. A June 24th poll shows ⅓ of Portland voters unsure who to choose for Mayor. 61% Uncertain of Sarah and 35% left undecided. 

Teressa purposefully has been doing the work to successfully sue Ted Wheeler instead of campaigning all in an effort to protect Portland protesters against the harmful effects of tear gas.

The fact is, Ted didn’t win the election! The run off with Sarah as a contender was determined by her getting only 24% in the primaries. Since then, Teressa Raiford has become the most viable candidate to beat Ted Wheeler.

Not only are we going to win, we’ll be sending a clear message to the establishment! No more status quo! 

Is the write-in campaign divisive to the movement” and actually just sabotaging Sarah as our best chance? Shouldn’t I just pick the lesser-of-two-evils?

This campaign is about amplifying Black voices and Black Women. If Sarah believes Black lives matter, she’d understand the implicit message when running against qualified Black women instead of elevating them. We don’t owe anything to Sarah, but we owe hope to her supporters who are looking for a substantial and non-wavering candidate. Teressa offers that.

The lesser-of-two-evils” rhetoric is an argument oppressors use to prevent systemic change. When the victims begin to simply do the right thing and show up for themselves, the dynamic starts to shift. We are not the ones sabotaging anything as Sarah is not representative of any movement. Moreover, many marginalized Portlanders don’t believe Sarah’s Portland is the lesser-of-two-evils. Sarah panders to the status quo while also trying to appeal to progressives because she’s pursuing a self-serving career in politics. It’s a performative, violent, and true sabotage. Again though, our specific campaign is not about Sarah — it’s to amplify Black voices. 

Are people voting for Teressa just because she’s Black?

Beyond her experience as a Black Woman, in a White-male-dominated society, Teressa is the most qualified and progressive candidate. Through her community outreach, Teressa has devoted her life to protecting the most marginalized people of Portland. Also, being Black isn’t just skin color”. It’s a cultural identity and irreplicable perspective from generations of lived experience. Placing Teressa in the mayor’s seat via a write-in would be a tangible result of why we take to the streets every night to amplify Black voices. 

It’s time that the people appoint Teressa Raiford to this office which holds so much influence over our community resources. She has already fully invested herself in uplifting the community, and now we are prepared to unseat those gatekeepers who would otherwise gladly continue marginalizing folks while serving only elites. Who better to uphold the cause of Black Lives, of civic accountability, and of community safety than the Black woman who has already been doing precisely that work so effectively for years, in the face of oppression?

What are Teressa’s qualifications and platform?

Teressa Raiford shared a People’s Platform based on years of ongoing community engagement. We also launched this new website to host detailed policy.

Teressa founded Don’t Shoot Portland, a local non-profit that advocates for families affected by gun-violence, provides no-cost legal support services, and develops social change movements for youth and vulnerable communities. Voted PDX’s Best Community-Driven Non-Profit by Willamette Weekly in 2019.

Teressa is a 4th Generation Resident of Portland and one of the most prominent community organizers. Teressa Raiford is always showing up against racism, police brutality, and state violence.

Teressa consistently shows up for her community by organizing and inspiring countless community-driven and mutual aid campaigns that have had a direct and powerful impact on so many people’s lives in our community today!

Hear her TED Talk here.

Teressa knows that the change we need will only come from the people — not politicians.

Why didn’t Teressa participate in Open and Accountable Elections?

Despite popularly circulated lies from local media, Teressa’s campaign did, in fact, qualify for Open and Accountable Elections. However, Teressa chose not to participate. Despite its agreeable-sounding name, Open and Accountable Elections is a thinly-veiled program that does nothing to ensure accountability or equitable access and that’s been proven. It’s a system that ensures those with proximity to power and money are granted with more power and money. In addition, it gives our tax dollars to whoever knows how to successfully navigate the existing corrupt system. These thousands of dollars should be spent on resources going back to Portland, not being spent in pursuit of building one’s own political career. 

Teressa didn’t get much coverage or raise as much money in the primary. Why isn’t Teressa campaigning?

Teressa campaigned through the primary and is dedicated to protecting her community regardless of title. This campaign is now ours to fight and we are doing this because we are empowered by her leadership. Also, protecting and uplifting our community is campaigning even, if it’s not traditional.

We have to strip down the systems that have purposely excluded folks outside the status quo. The implicit nature of raising money in a predominantly white community — specifically from a Black-led campaign — is not lost in how people blame Teressa and not upheld systems or the blatant media blackout for lack of coverage or money raised. This rhetoric is invested in downplaying and ignoring Portland’s long upheld systemic racism.

Despite the commonly held misconception, raising the most money doesn’t equate more popularity, validity, or chances of winning. Instead, it largely equates to wealth and proximity to existing power structures. Campaigning is an extremely time-consuming and financially straining activity — two things that marginalized folks looking to represent themselves can rarely accommodate. 

Is Teressa Raiford for Mayor what the community wants?

The write-in campaign itself is not people following orders from any single person. It is a community-wide response to systemic injustices that affect the community as a whole and disproportionately impact the Black community. Teressa has long been a champion of addressing community needs and unlike her opponents, she doesn’t ask for permission from the existing White power structures. She just does the work and invites people to join. She acts out of necessity. This write-in campaign isn’t asking permission either.

The votes she did receive during primaries and this subsequently spontaneous write-in campaign should be enough proof there is community support. From the start of the community-led campaign, we’ve received a number of endorsements and thousands of pledged votes on our petition. We honor her self-determination and self-empowerment, and her dedication to the community.

We’re amidst a massive social awakening that undoubtedly is a result of the work of generations of Black liberators. The demands for justice, accountability and equity have been clear for decades. The change we need is coming from the people; from ongoing civic engagement of voters and community members.