• Mon. Sep 25th, 2023


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Jamie McLeod-Skinner Defeats Kurt Schrader in Oregon

The leading super PAC for House Republicans announced last month it would spend $3.3 million to pick up the seat. “Democrats ate their own and now a standout Republican candidate will face off against a far-too liberal activist in Jamie McLeod-Skinner,” Dan Conston, president of the PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, said in a statement Friday.

Ms. McLeod-Skinner’s supporters argued in the primary that she stood a better chance of galvanizing Democratic voters, a vital strength in a year in which many party strategists believe Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats about turning out.

Ms. McLeod-Skinner had the backing of some left-leaning organizations including the Working Families Party, and her primary victory in spite of a funding disadvantage will be seen as evidence of progressive energy after several notable setbacks for that wing of the party in 2021 and a mixed record this year.

She also amassed considerable support from several county Democratic Party organizations in Oregon that would ordinarily be expected to back the incumbent or remain neutral. Leaders of some of those parties had urged the House Democratic campaign arm, which supported Mr. Schrader, to stay out of the primary.

Johanna Warshaw, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, noted that the organization’s “core mission is to re-elect Democratic members.”

Mr. Schrader, who was helped by significant outside spending, argued that he had a long track record of delivering for the district. A founder of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, he emphasized his ability to build consensus and his focus on issues including infrastructure, jobs and lowering health care costs.

“He has been a partner to the Biden administration,” Deb Barnes, Mr. Schrader’s spokeswoman, said in a statement ahead of Election Day.

While the race took on national significance given Mr. Schrader’s seniority, it was also shaped by hyperlocal issues, including a debate between the two candidates over the proper method for bucking hay, reflecting the rural parts of the district. “I’ve shaken your hands, you have very soft hands,” Ms. McLeod-Skinner ribbed Mr. Schrader, referring to a photo of him handling hay without gloves. “You don’t buck hay bare-handed.”