October 14, 2020
Sarah Demands Wheeler Cease Right-Wing Attacks, Causing Death Threats
Today, Sarah Iannarone, Candidate for Portland Mayor, is calling on Mayor Wheeler and his Super PAC to immediately stop echoing right-wing attacks on antifascism.
Right wing media, from Fox News to The Daily Caller and nationalist propagandist Andy Ngo, repeatedly refer to Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone as the “Antifa Mayor,” and continually conflate antifascism with violent destruction despite the strong antifascist tendencies toward mutual aid, nonviolent resistance, and community care. This also follows Sarah and her Campaign Director being forced to obtain a stalking order from a judge for one of Mayor Wheeler’s former staffers after repeated death threats.
"I ask Ted Wheeler and his Super PAC to immediately refrain from these disproven, unethical, false, and dangerous claims,” Sarah Iannarone says. Her campaign released a trove of voicemails and direct threats the campaign has received from those who repeatedly echo the “Antifa Mayor” dog whistle. “I am releasing these threats to pull back the curtain on what happens when a woman runs for office as a proud antifascist, and to implore Mayor Wheeler to stop signaling right-wing dog whistles which incites this reaction for his own political gain. Ted Wheeler knows full well that politicizing antifascism is a right-wing smear tactic and has chosen to subject me and my campaign staff to violent threats in a Hail Mary attempt to save his re-election campaign. I am calling on him to stop equivocating in the fight against fascism, to stand against fascism and with the people of Portland.”
Gregory McKelvey, Campaign Director for Sarah Iannarone for Portland Mayor added, “While misinformation surrounds everyday antifascism, it is beneath the office of the Portland Mayor to follow Donald Trump in spreading that misinformation.”
Vice President Joe Biden said of President Trump during their first televised debate: "His own FBI director said ... antifa is an idea, not an organization," Biden said, referring to President Donald Trump and FBI Director Chris Wray. Trump has used street violence in Portland as a pretense to label his political opponents as “antifa.” Recently, Ted Wheeler and his Super PAC have echoed Trump's attack and levied it towards candidate Iannarone.
Bobbin Singh of Oregon Justice Resource Center stated in a tweet, “Ted Wheeler’s intentional use of far-right talking points against Sarah Iannarone is reckless and dangerous. His decision to lean into the politics of fear by using a far-right boogeyman while denying his own complicity in sustaining incredible harms to the community, necessarily concludes he is not the right person for the moment.”
In Monday's mayoral debate on Oregon Public Broadcasting, Ted Wheeler twice used this dog-whistle. He continued the line of attack during that evening’s KATU Channel 2 mayoral debate. An attack ad from Ted Wheeler’s big-business Super PAC quotes Sarah as saying “I am Antifa.”, shorthand for anti-fascist.
Like many Portlanders, Sarah has watched as right-wing extremists parade across our city, often with police escorts and assistance. From friendly text messages to hiding evidence of long guns trained on antifascists, it is difficult to trust Portland Police to handle these matters fairly under Police Commissioner Wheeler, as he irresponsibly escalates this vitriolic rhetoric.
Iannarone concluded, “Opposing fascism should be the default position for all who hold political office in these times. It is saddening to see Mayor Wheeler use Donald Trump's rhetoric to cast my moral position in a negative light.”