PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Seven-term U.S. 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 significantly delayed due to ballots with blurry bar codes in Oregon’s third-largest being rejected by vote-counting machines. Workers in Clackamas County had to transfer votes by hand to fresh ballots so they could be tallied.
In a statement released on Friday evening, Schrader gave his thanks to all those who helped support him, saying his “team, voters, countless volunteers, President Biden, and my family have all been there for me and worked so hard on behalf of Oregon’s 5th Congressional District. Thank you for your passion and hard work.”
He also congratulated McLeod-Skinner on her “tireless efforts and successful primary campaign.”
Read Schrader’s full statement at the bottom of this article.
McLeod-Skinner had the backing of the local Democratic parties in all four counties covered by the redrawn 5th Congressional District seat. She had urged stronger action to combat climate change 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 Joe 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 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 following redistricting.
Schader’s full statement:
Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this campaign. My team, voters, countless volunteers, President Biden, and my family have all been there for me and worked so hard on behalf of Oregon’s 5th Congressional District. Thank you for your passion and hard work.
I congratulate my opponent on her tireless efforts and successful primary campaign.
It has been my honor to serve as Representative for Oregon’s 5th congressional district for these past 14 years. We have had some great successes, just in the past year. No longer will the entrance to Tillamook Bay be a hazard. The Aurora Donald interchange on I-5 will be rebuilt and much safer. The Willamette Locks look to once again be a historic economic opportunity for our region. And, we have been extremely successful in getting FEMA to step up in a huge way for the folks in the Santiam Canyon whose lives were devastated by the fires that engulfed their communities in 2020.
In the ensuing 6 months, I look forward to continuing to serve our constituent needs whether it be veterans benefits, Social Security, IRS, student loans and whatever we can do to make your government work for you.
We need to make sure the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law rolls out according to plan, that civil and voting rights are protected and that access to reproductive healthcare is protected. We need to bring back much of our supply chain back to America and American workers; and we need to ensure we get prescription drug negotiation across the finish line – something I have fought for and will continue to push through the remainder of the year. And we must support freedom around the world with our friends and allies.
Oregon’s Fifth is a diverse district – geographically, economically, and politically. It is a microcosm of our state and our country. I have striven to represent the entire district regardless of party affiliation, be a fiscally responsible voice of moderation, and worked across the aisle to bring our State and Country together. This is who I am and how I have served Oregon for over 25 years in elected office. The majority of Democrats have chosen a different direction for now. I do hope that at some point in time, working together as representatives of our respective districts, we find common ground instead of promoting an ideological agenda that can come back into vogue in both the Democrat and Republican parties. Our state and our country desperately need to be more unified in these difficult times ahead.