Opponents of 13 ballot questions in Portland have raised about 11 times as much as supporters and have a significant fundraising advantage headed into the Nov. 8 election.

Two groups – Enough is Enough and Restaurant Industry United – are leading the way, raising more than $1.1 million to date. Enough is Enough has raised $635,054 and spent $398,464. Restaurant Industry United has raised $474,800 and spent $209,665.

Supporters have raised far less, with just over $100,000 total. One Fair Wage Portland has raised $50,000 exclusively from its national organization, One Fair Wage.

The latest round of campaign finance reports were filed with the city last week and detail sizable spending from corporations and real estate interests opposed to the proposals, including $100,000 from the National Association of Realtors and $40,000 from Airbnb to Enough is Enough, which opposes all 13 questions.

Question D, which would raise Portland’s minimum wage to $18 per hour by 2025 and eliminate the sub-minimum, or tip credit, wage, is driving a large part of the outside campaign donations and spending – and has received an endorsement from former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Restaurant Industry United reported DoorDash donated $165,000 and Uber gave $175,000, adding to previous donations the companies have already made to oppose Question D. In total, Uber has spent about $280,000 and DoorDash is close behind at $240,000.


“Heading into this effort, we knew that outside influence in this election would be strong,” Nick Mavodones, campaign treasurer for Enough is Enough, said in a statement. “When One Fair Wage (a group supporting Question D) rolled into town, we worked hard to make sure that local voices could be heard through the noise.”

Mavodones said 90% of the individuals and companies who donated to Enough is Enough are located in Maine and he said out-of-state companies that donated have a direct relationship with local workers and businesses.

“The donations we received from those located outside Maine are either housing providers in our community or they are supporting the voices of their employees and independent contractors here in Portland,” Mavodones said. “All the contributions helped the campaign respond to the flawed ballot questions in a very short period.”

The Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s Livable Portland campaign collected signatures to place four of the 13 referendums on the ballot – including Question D. Its ballot question committee has raised $21,537 and spent $17,355 to date. The latest round of donations it received includes $10,000 from the national Democratic Socialists of America.

“We knew from the outset that out-of-state corporations and powerful local business interests would spend over a million bucks to try to stop workers from getting raises and renters from being able to afford housing,” Wes Pelletier, the Livable Portland campaign chair, said in a statement.

“Our campaign runs because hundreds of folks have donated time, labor and passion to ensuring that the working class have a place in Portland, and that grassroots power can’t be bought.”


Both Uber and DoorDash have expressed concerns with Question D, which ensures delivery, ride-hailing and taxi drivers earn the minimum wage. Uber and DoorDash have said that their drivers like being independent contractors with the ability to work as much as they want when they want, and that requiring a hourly minimum wage would threaten that flexibility.


Joshua Chaisson, a spokesperson for Restaurant Industry United, said Monday that the group is glad to accept help from affected industries. “It wasn’t our idea to craft a harmful ballot question that would simultaneously go after gig workers and tipped workers,” Chaisson said. “You can blame the DSA for that. But because the question goes after both industries, folks shouldn’t be surprised that both industries are rallying together to fight it.”

Much of the spending for and against ballot questions has been on political signs, advertising and fliers. The latest reports were filed with 11 days to go before the election and committees on both sides still had thousands of dollars at their disposal to spend.

One Fair Wage Portland, which supports Question D, has spent $29,361 so far on mail, printing and graphic design. The group’s expenses don’t include an event hosted by One Fair Wage in mid-October that featured Ibram X. Kendi, a prominent author and activist, talking about the sub-minimum or tipped credit wage in the context of Question D.

John Brautigam, an attorney for One Fair Wage Portland, said the event is not listed as an expense on the group’s campaign finance report because it was a “book talk” and they do not consider it a campaign event.

“Two authors can touch on current issues,” Brautigam said about the event, which also featured One Fair Wage’s president, Saru Jayaraman. “It doesn’t change the nature or the purpose of it.”

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