For Establishment Democrats, a Surprise Loss in Oregon

Rep. Kurt Schrader, 7-term incumbent, loses primary to progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 27, 2022 2:45 PM CDT
Progressive Beats Biden's Pick
Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., speaks during a news conference in Washington in 2019. Schrader lost the Democratic primary in Oregon's 5th U.S. House District to Jaime McLeod-Skinner.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

(Newser) – Seven-term US Rep. Kurt Schrader has been ousted in a Democratic primary in Oregon by progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The vote count in the state's 5th Congressional District was delayed due to ballots with blurry bar codes being rejected by vote-counting machines. Workers in Clackamas County had to transfer votes by hand to fresh ballots so they could be tallied. McLeod-Skinner had the backing of the Democratic Party organizations in all four counties covered by the redrawn district. She had urged stronger action to combat climate change, the AP reports, and complained that Schrader was too conservative.

McLeod-Skinner will face Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer in November. Chavez-DeRemer is the former mayor of Happy Valley, Oregon. She has said she will support businesses and police, and address "the crisis on our southern border." Schrader, a moderate, had the support of President Biden, who made the congressman his first endorsement of the year. Schrader has voted against some of Biden’s priorities, including a money-saving plan to let Medicare negotiate the price it pays for prescription drugs.

Schrader has faced mounting criticism from progressive Democrats. A year ago, he was one of only two members of his party to vote against a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill because, among several reasons, he did not support including an increase to the minimum wage. The newly drawn 5th District stretched from the Portland area southeast into rural communities in the central part of the state. While Democrats have held the seat since 1997, there are concerns by some in the party that a more progressive candidate would face a tougher time getting elected in the region after it was changed through redistricting.

(Read more Oregon primary stories.)

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