Oregon Primary: Left-wing Challenger Holds Big Lead over Incumbent Dem Kurt Schrader

Jamie McLeod-Skinner (Andrew Selsky / Associated Press)
Andrew Selsky / Associated Press

Left-wing challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner holds a commanding lead over incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) in the primary race for Oregon’s 5th congressional district, with over 60% of the vote as ballots continued to be tallied Wednesday.

The 5th congressional district was redrawn to include more Republican areas, making Schrader vulnerable in the fall in a tough environment for Democrats. But the increasingly polarized nature of national politics meant that Schrader, one of the few fiscally conservative Democrats left in the caucus, was also vulnerable to a challenge from the increasingly radical left.

The Wall Street Journal noted last week:

Mr. Schrader must make it through a May 17 primary where he is being challenged from his left over not doing more to move the Democratic agenda through Congress. Mr. Schrader raised concerns about the cost of Democrats’ social-policy and climate package and in committee opposed a bill to allow the government to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. He also voted against restrictions on debt collections.

Mr. Schrader’s willingness to break with congressional Democrats has created an opening for Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a small-business owner and an emergency-response coordinator from outside Bend. Ms. McLeod-Skinner, well known in central Oregon from her unsuccessful runs for Congress and secretary of state, is running to Mr. Schrader’s left.

Ms. McLeod-Skinner said Mr. Schrader’s record is too conservative and that he negotiates legislation away from maximum impact, which leaves voters uninspired. “To win in a close race, you got to hold your base and you got to win crossover voters,” she said. “He’s lost the base.”

The Republican primary in the district was won by Lori Chavez-DeRemer, the former mayor of Happy Valley. In other notable races, Republican Alek Skarlatos, a veteran and hero whose exploits were documented in the movie The 15:17 to Paris, ran uncontested: he will face Democrat Val Hoyle in the race for the 4th congressional district, which is an open seat. In the race for governor, Tina Kotek won the Democratic primary and Christine Drazan led in the Republican primary.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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