Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler could be replaced by an open supporter of antifa, the violent, far-left movement that has gripped American cities for months.
Wheeler narrowly missed securing enough votes to retain his position as the city’s top elected official for the next four years and will now face a runoff in November against left-wing activist Sarah Iannarone.
Wheeler has been under fire over his handling of the city’s nightly unrest, which has endured for almost 100 consecutive nights since May, following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.
Protesters have demanded Wheeler reduce the Portland Police Bureau budget, commit to never voting for another police budget increase, and resign.
Wheeler has rejected President Donald Trump’s repeated offers to send federal law enforcement officers to the city to stop protests.
On Tuesday, he told other residents of the high-rise condominium building in the city’s Pearl District, where he resides that he will move out after the building became a frequent site of protests in recent months, reported OregonLive.com.
“I want to express my sincere apologies for the damage to our home and the fear that you are experiencing due to my position,” Wheeler wrote in an email.
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) September 2, 2020
Meanwhile, Wheeler’s rival, Iannarone, who identifies herself as a member of the antifa movement, has vowed to slash the city’s police funding, Daily Caller reported.
“To those who say antifa are violent thugs: I am not a violent thug and I am antifa,” she wrote in a 2019 tweet.
“I am antifa because the Red Hats are coming after brown & black people, after Jews, after queer & trans people, and more. They are coming after our democracy,” she added.
To those who say Antifa are violent thugs: I am not a violent thug and I am Antifa.
I am Antifa because the Red Hats are coming after brown & black people, after Jews, after queer & trans people, and more.
— sarah iannarone (she/her) (@sarahforpdx) January 27, 2019
Innarone has expressed support for the nightly protests in Portland that often turn destructive and violent. She and her daughter have joined protesters on numerous occasions calling for an end to police brutality.
“We need to understand these protests are part of a healthy democracy. Peaceful protests, in my opinion, might not necessarily be moving the conversation forward.”
Iannarone declined to condemn violent protesters during an interview with KGW8 on Aug. 7.
Her campaign later disclosed a follow-up statement stating that she does “not condone” criminal activity.