PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Democrat Peter DeFazio defeated challenger Alek Skarlatos, the Associated Press projected.
DeFazio has been the US Representative for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District since 1987, longer than his Republican opponent has been alive.
“This year’s election was one of the most partisan and toughest elections in recent history – both for our district, state, and country. Our community has also faced a number of unprecedented challenges – from COVID-19 to the wildfires that devastated so many,” DeFazio said in a statement. “Now is the time to put politics aside and get to work in a bipartisan way to recover and rebuild.”
Skarlatos, 27, is a former Oregon National Guardsman who rose to international fame when he and his friends stopped an attempted terrorist attack in France.
Skarlatos played himself in the Clint Eastwood film, “The 15:17 to Paris,” which told the story of how he and childhood friends Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler tackled a gunman on a train. He later appeared on “Dancing With The Stars.”
Following a losing effort to become a Douglas County commissioner, Skarlatos set his sights on the US House of Representatives and won the May primary.
Skarlatos even managed to out fundraise DeFazio, who has generally coasted to victories every two years. He thanked his supporters in a statement Tuesday night, saying the race would never have come this close without their help.
“Together we created the most exciting campaign this district has ever seen, and while it is incredibly heart breaking to see the results tonight, I am so proud of the work that my team has done, and I am very thankful for the time and sacrifice they have given over the past 18 months,” Skarlatos said in the statement. “This has been the most rewarding experience of my life, and I am incredibly humbled for having the opportunity to run for office and bring attention to the needs of the citizens of this district. Once again, thank you to everyone who supported me along the way and congratulations to Peter DeFazio on his win tonight.”
DeFazio issued his own statement Wednesday:
“I want to give a big shout to all my friends, supporters, and volunteers. We mounted an effort beyond belief, and we won this race because of your support and unrivaled grassroots force. Our victory would not have been possible without the countless hours of hard work we put into contacting voters, getting out the vote, and sharing our campaign message with voters in Oregon’s 4th Congressional District. We ran a great campaign with a powerful promise: to protect affordable health care for everyone, defend women’s health rights, deliver relief for struggling workers and families, and fight for the future of both our planet and our democracy. Our campaign was powered by the people, and beat the big money pouring into our district from special interests and wealthy elites. Thank you all so very much.”