Oregon Republican Alek Skarlatos, a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard, is seeking a rematch against Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) in the state’s battleground Fourth Congressional District for next year’s midterm elections.
Skarlatos, known for helping stop a heavily armed attacker on a Paris-bound train in 2015, announced his second consecutive bid for office Sunday on Fox & Friends, saying he believes that redistricting in Oregon, which gained one additional congressional seat this year because of a population increase, will help him in his campaign.
“We’re incredibly excited,” Skarlatos said. “Oregon is one of the six states that is gaining a congressional district, and even though Oregon is a deep blue state, that’s going to make it almost impossible for them to keep Peter DeFazio in office once the lines move.”
Skarlatos, 28, lost his election to DeFazio in 2020 by five points, but the race was the closest the Oregon Democrat had come to losing in his 30-year congressional career. Skarlatos said he is optimistic about his prospects the second time around, especially because of the forthcoming district shifts.
“We don’t know the map quite yet, but pretty much any direction my district will move will go more Republican, and we’re going to be excited to take back the House in 2022,” Skarlatos said.
The Oregon Republican told Breitbart News’s Matthew Boyle in a radio interview last June ahead of his initial race that he was motivated to seek office after meeting with a state lawmaker and digging into why his region was so poor.
“The more I learned, the angrier I got,” Skarlatos said. “You had a huge economic downturn [in southwest Oregon] since timber went away in the late 80s, early 90s, and it’s really all just been politically motivated. There’s been no real tangible reason for southwestern Oregon being the poorest Congressional district in the state.”
The Oregon Republican chided DeFazio, who cofounded the House Progressive Caucus with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and cosponsored Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) Green New Deal, as a far-left lawmaker who has done little to improve his struggling district.
“I felt like after 33 years in office, Peter DeFazio, if he was going to do anything for us, he would have done it by now,” he continued. “And I felt like he doesn’t represent the district anymore, and he’s incredibly far-left.”
Despite his lengthy tenure, trends in DeFazio’s district suggest the Oregon Democrat is in particular trouble in 2022. In addition to a Republican coming within striking distance of DeFazio for the first time last year, Cook Political Report’s latest partisan voter index finds Oregon’s Fourth District leans one point favorable toward Republicans, and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), House Republicans’ dominant campaign arm, is targeting DeFazio after identifying him as one of the most vulnerable to losing his seat in the midterms.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Breitbart News, per a detailed February report about House Republicans’ mission to take the majority next year, that he thought Skarlatos would be a “perfect” candidate as he indicated opportunities for Republican gains.
“I think Alek Skarlatos in Oregon is going to gain a seat. I think he would be perfect up there to gain a seat in Oregon,” the Republican leader said.
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