Seven-term U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, a centrist who was endorsed by President Joe Biden, has been ousted in the Democratic primary in Oregon by progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner after results were delayed more than a week by a ballot-printing issue.

The vote count in the state’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Bend, was slowed because tens of thousands of ballots were printed with blurry bar codes, making them unreadable by vote-counting machines.

Workers in Clackamas County, the state’s third-largest county, had to transfer votes by hand to fresh ballots so they could be tallied.

That process continued Friday for other races yet to be called.

McLeod-Skinner, of Terrebonne, had the backing of the local Democratic parties in all four counties covered by the redrawn district, which now leans a little less blue. In her campaign, she urged stronger action to combat climate change and complained that Schrader was too conservative.

She also portrayed Schrader as a politician who had lost touch with his party’s base and in the pocket of large pharmaceutical companies on issues like prescription drug prices.

McLeod-Skinner will face Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer in November. Chavez-DeRemer is the former mayor of Happy Valley, southeast of Portland. She has said she will support businesses and police and address “the crisis on our southern border.”

In a statement on Twitter, McLeod-Skinner thanked Schrader for his years of service and said Oregon Democrats should see the contest’s outcome as “an evaluation of our ideas and as a confirmation of our values.”

“From Sellwood to Sunriver, Oregonians never stopped believing we can protect our families, our climate and our civil rights,” she wrote. “Oregonians — this is your victory.”

Biden made Schrader his first endorsement of the year, but it didn’t help the moderate Democrat in a district that now includes Bend, one of the state’s fastest-growing Democratic areas where McLeod-Skinner had more name recognition.

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. 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.

Those decisions may be what cost him reelection, said John Horvick, political director at the nonpartisan public opinion firm DHM Research.

“He’s a moderate, but it’s more specific to the issues where he went against the party,” he said. “The big one is really his reluctance to support Democrats on prescription drugs. You can break with your party in a lot of different areas but a highly salient, deeply held position in the party — that was a deal breaker.”

What remains to be seen is if McLeod-Skinner will compete well in the general election in a district that is split fairly evenly between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats’ hold on the seat could be at risk if moderate voters perceive her as too progressive, he said.

The Republican nominee, Chavez-DeRemer, is endorsed by the third-ranking House Republican, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York — an endorsement Chavez-DeRemer highlighted in her primary campaign in a crowded field. That might play well in more conservative parts of the redrawn district.

“To me, it’s a toss-up race going forward and candidate quality is going to matter,” Horvick said. “The opportunities for Oregon to be central in the national conversation is higher this cycle than any cycle I can think of in recent memory.”

Sign up for our Daily Headlines newsletter

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

(6) comments

ClayW

Awww Oregon a good place to be from

KJ54

Hey Bulletin, could you please post the vote count??????

belleflower

Wonderful news. McLeod-Skinner will put the real people of Oregon front and center. Though the media loves to go on and on about the partisan divide, many Oregonians -- including in our new district -- have shared values. We care about our families, housing, a living wage (and more). We want access to health care, clean water, and food we grow & raise right here in Oregon. Some of us live in the forest or at the edge of it, and we want to see the federally owned lands managed better. Pretending this stuff is somehow radical and left-wing is ridiculous. It's just straightforward common sense. Let's make Oregon livable -- not just for tourists and wealthy retirees, but for all of us.

gregb2781

Republicans can pickup another seat from a far left liberal.

BuckeyeDuck

You wish 😂

64363

That would be true if a "far-left" liberal was in the race. Try to do some research and think for yourself.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.