POLITICS

Lori Chavez-DeRemer wins Oregon’s 5th Congressional District seat


Lori Chavez-DeRemer has won Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, becoming the state’s second Republican in Congress and its first Latina.

On Sunday, the Associated Press announced that the former mayor of Happy Valley had won the race against Democrat Jamie-McLeod-Skinner, an attorney and regional emergency manager from central Oregon. The call followed a Saturday night drop of about 23,000 ballots from Clackamas County, which widened Chavez-DeRemer’s lead to about 6,500 votes.

On Friday, after The Oregonian/OregonLive called the race for Chavez-DeRemer, she declared victory.

“I am humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support we received throughout this campaign,” she said in a statement. “From the suburbs of Clackamas, down to rural Linn and Marion counties, and over to the Cascades to central Oregon, one thing was clear to me: Oregonians wanted commonsense solutions to their everyday problems. Families needed a Congresswoman to tackle inflation, keep us safe, and focus on what’s best for Oregon families.”

McLeod-Skinner conceded the race later Sunday, saying in a statement that she had spoken to Chavez-DeRemer and wished her well representing Oregon’s 5th District.

“Our success as Oregonians is dependent on the success of our elected leaders, and I encourage all of us to help our elected leaders bridge our divides to address our common challenges,” McLeod-Skinner said in a statement. “I am grateful for those who worked so hard on our campaign – our team, our volunteers, our partners – and everyone who contributed to our efforts to work toward a better tomorrow for Oregonians. It is your commitment that gives me hope for our future. We must all stay engaged in working towards that future where all Oregonians can thrive. That’s what I will continue to do, and I hope you will join me.”

A statement from the progressive Working Families Party, which supported McLeod-Skinner, was less gracious.

“This seat could have made the majority, but the national Democratic PACs walked away and left Jamie to twist in the wind. The GOP knew it was competitive and their spending showed it,” Rob Duffey, national communications director for the Working Families Party, said in a statement.

The House Majority PAC, a committee controlled by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, gave up on the race in October, shifting close to $500,000 intended for ads in the 5th District to the 6th District where Democratic state lawmaker Andrea Salinas, who is also Latina, has a lead of about 4,000 votes over Republican logistics consultant Mike Erickson. The Associated Press has not yet called that race.

Chavez-DeRemer noted that her victory was “historic.” Kurt Schrader, a moderate Democrat, has represented the district for seven terms, but in May he lost the primary to McLeod-Skinner, a progressive. 

McLeod-Skinner won in both Clackamas and Deschutes counties, but Chavez-DeRemer’s lopsided margin of victory in rural Linn County, home to about 18% of the district’s voters, proved key to her victory.

Chavez-DeRemer’s win adds another seat to the Republican goal of having a majority in the U.S. House. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, visited Oregon in August to stump in part for Chavez-DeRemer.

The chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Tom Emmer, congratulated Chavez-DeRemer on Sunday on her win. 

“Lori ran an excellent campaign focused on the issues that matter most to Oregon families, and I know she will do a fantastic job in Washington,” Emmer said in a statement.

Her victory will mean that Oregon will be represented in Congress by two Republicans. Republican Cliff Bentz easily won his reelection bid in the 2nd Congressional District spanning eastern Oregon.

Oregon Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oregon Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Lynne Terry for questions: [email protected]. Follow Oregon Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.

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Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years. She has won state, regional and national awards, including a National Headliner Award for a long-term care facility story and a top award from the National Association of Health Care Journalists for an investigation into government failures to protect the public from repeated salmonella outbreaks. She loves to cook and entertain, speaks French and is learning Portuguese.