Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) has announced that he will not be seeking reelection in 2024 — prompting critics on both sides of the aisle to celebrate the decision, as the far-left politician has faced backlash throughout his tenure in office over his handling of several significant problems in the city.
Wheeler, who was elected in 2016, has presided over violence and crime during his tenure in office — facing significant criticism for failing to handle the chaos caused by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots in 2020, skyrocketing crime and the ongoing homelessness crisis.
He was condemned by conservatives for allowing BLM and Antifa to take over the city in 2020, while also facing criticism from the left for allowing the Portland Police to use crowd control measures such as tear gas on violent rioters.
Wheeler eventually caved to the rioter’s demands, banning officers from using tear gas despite pushback from police who were clearly put in danger during the riots. He further handicapped the Portland Police by caving to the “Defund the Police” movement, significantly reducing the department’s funding in 2020 — but ultimately backpedaled after losing more than 200 officers, announcing in 2021 that he would be increasing the budget by $5.2 million.
“Many Portlanders no longer feel safe in their city,” Wheeler said during a press conference at the time. “Business owners have closed up shop, for fear of doing business in high-risk areas. Commuters fear for their safety, whether taking public transport or going by foot. Parents are scared to let their children play outside.”
Under the leadership of the Democrat mayor, Portland saw a record of 101 homicides in 2022 — breaking the previous year’s record of 92.
In Crime-Ridden Portland, Just How Much More Will Voters Tolerate?@JustTheNews reporter @MadeleineHubb discusses Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s announcement to not run for re-election after two terms of skyrocketing homicide rates.
Watch more… pic.twitter.com/0LAgXTLn0b
— Real America's Voice (RAV) (@RealAmVoice) September 14, 2023
However, in his letter announcing that he will not be seeking reelection, Wheeler did not mention any of these failures — instead claiming that his administration had “re-shaped” Portland’s government.
“Over the last seven years, my administration has re-shaped City government to effectively respond to an unprecedented number of simultaneous challenges related to homelessness, public safety, livability, and economic recovery,” Wheeler wrote in a letter that he posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Building these efforts to scale and making them effective has been, and will continue to be, my top priority,” the letter continued, referring to the Wheeler administration’s development of city programs supposedly designed to curb gun violence, address homelessness, and improve Portland’s overall livability.
“I am a firm believer in public service and know that when government is accountable and responsive to the needs of the community, it can be a force for good,” Wheeler added, noting that serving as Portland’s mayor was “both humbling and the greatest privilege of my life.”
He went on to state that correcting the “critical challenges” facing the city will require “all of my attention over the next 15 months” — and thus he would not be seeking a third term.
“I want to be clear that I will not be slowing down in my current leadership role. I have great confidence in the steps we are taking to address the problems facing Portland today,” Wheeler continued, adding that his administration would continue “building on that progress to ensure Portland’s best years are ahead of us.”
I have great confidence in the steps we are taking to address the problems facing Portland today. We will continue building on that progress to ensure Portland’s best years are ahead of us. pic.twitter.com/V8yVrigXDi
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) September 13, 2023