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Portland's pro-Antifa mayoral candidate in 2016 tweeted image of ballot with 'violent despots' like Stalin, Lenin, Ho Chi Minh as write-ins


Other write-ins visible in Sarah Iannarone's tweeted image included Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Mao Zedong

Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone on the phone with a voter at her campaign office on October 28, 2020, in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Portland's pro-Antifa mayoral candidate, Sarah Iannarone, is being questioned about a tweet she posted in 2016 that included an image of a ballot with figures such as Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Ho Chi Minh as write-ins, KOIN-TV reported.

What are the details?

Last week, Mayor Ted Wheeler's campaign released a statement objecting to Iannarone "writing in violent despots like Ho Chi Minh and Joseph Stalin on her 2016 ballot," the station said.

But Iannarone's campaign manager Gregory McKelvey told KOIN that the image in question doesn't depict her ballot. Rather, he told the station, Iannarone "posted the ballots of many of her supporters who sent them in after voting for her" and that she "shared a picture of someone else's ballot celebrating Black women like Angela Davis and Assata Shakur."

The tweet of the 2016 primary campaign ballot also includes write-in votes for Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Vladimir Lenin, and others, KOIN said.

Indeed a number of the individuals on the ballot image were responsible for the deaths of millions of people. In addition, the station added:

Angela Davis is an activist who was acquitted of kidnapping, murder and conspiracy charges in the 1970s, then ran as Vice President on the Communist Party ticket and later became a professor at the University of California Santa Cruz. Assata Shakur is a convicted killer of a New Jersey state trooper who later escaped from prison and was added to the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list.

Wheeler campaign manager Danny O'Halloran said, essentially, it really doesn't matter if that's her ballot.

"No one who saw that tweet would have any way of thinking that [it wasn't her ballot]," O'Halloran told KOIN. "But more importantly it doesn't really matter. On that ballot is a vote for Sarah Iannarone, and everyone else written in was a Communist dictator. And her choosing to post that is just as inflammatory and mocks our democratic institutions in just the same way."

He added to the station that her tweet "fits a pattern of constant inciteful rhetoric by Sarah Iannarone and her campaign. She has repeatedly said she is affiliated with Antifa, she has chosen to wear items of clothing with Mao Zedong's face on it, she posted this tweet of a ballot with Communist dictators names — seeming to praise it — and she has been asked in interviews to condemn violent protest and has refused to, going as far as to say in an interview that peaceful protest might not be going far enough."

KOIN said McKelvey declined the station's request for an on-camera interview with him or Iannarone but that he did issue a statement:

"Ted Wheeler is using the same tactics as Donald Trump to scare and confuse voters. The claim is simply a lie. Trump and Wheeler paint progressive women as too radical because they believe misogyny and misrepresentations can still win elections. They are tired tricks from a time that our city and nation are eager to move past. In 2016 Sarah shared a picture of someone else's ballot celebrating Black women like Angela Davis and Assata Shakur. Wheeler's campaign is increasingly desperate to paint Sarah as a radical because his ideas are straight out of the McCarthy era – degradation of the climate, housing segregation, police brutality, and Red Scares. Portland deserves a conversation surrounding our housing crisis and economic recovery, not the daily distortions, alt-right attacks, and Red Scares of Wheeler's desperate reelection campaign. We expect voters to reject Donald Trump and Wheeler's shared tactic on election day."

Anything else?

Earlier this month, a poll of likely Portland mayoral voters indicated Iannarone had an 11-point lead over Wheeler, the incumbent candidate. But O'Halloran told KOIN the most recent polls show the race is "effectively tied" and a large number of undecided voters are still out there.

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