Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je, an independent who is seeking a second term, has been in the spotlight over the past few weeks. Unlike four years ago, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has fielded its own candidate for the year-end mayoral elections instead of endorsing him as it did in 2014. But even without DPP support, the surgeon-turned-mayor is as popular as ever. Several opinion polls showed him leading in the race and there has been speculation that the mayor could run for president in 2020, something he called a “surprise” if that really happens.
One notable example of the mayor’s popularity is his ability to arouse the enthusiasm of small donors. In a mere nine hours after opening his account online, Ko was able to reach his target of NT$30 million (US$1 million), an unprecedented success. Ko’s campaign team ultimately raised over NT$40 million (US$1.3 million) from small donors.