Rep. Schrader trailing in bid to retain congressional seat
Delays in reporting of votes in Clackamas County added an air of uncertainty returns in key May 17 congressional races.
An attempt to topple U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader in the Democratic primary for the 5th Congressional District appeared to be succeeding, based on updated results Wednesday morning.
On the Republican side, former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer is the apparent nominee, 42% of the vote in a crowded field.
For Democrats, Central Oregon attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner was leading the one-on-one primary against Schrader, with 61% of the vote.
But early vote totals were heavily weighted toward Deschutes, Linn and Multnomah County, while a printing glitch slowed return from populous Clackamas County, home to Schrader, who was pulling a majority of the few votes that had been counted as of Wednesday morning.
The slow ballot count from Clackamas County also put in question the early lead of Rep. Andrea Salinas, D-Lake Oswego, atop the returns of the crowded Democratic primary for the new 6th Congressional District.
Salinas, a leader in the 2022 redistricting approved by the Legislature last year, had 38% of the vote Wednesday morning. Carrick Flynn, her closest challenger, had 19%/
Mike Erickson of Lake Oswego, who won Republican nominations for Congress in 2006 and 2008, was leading the GOP race in the 6th Congressional District, with 34% of the vote. He fueled his first bid in 14 years by loaning his own campaign $640,000.
Rep. Ron Noble of McMinnville was second, at 20%.
Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Val Hoyle of Springfield was winning 65% of the vote in early returns for the Democratic primary for the 4th Congressional District. She led in all seven of the counties in the district.
Alek Skarlatos of Roseburg ran unopposed in the Republican primary.
Two open congressional seats and a bitter primary challenge in a third will take another day — maybe more — to figure out which candidates will move on to the general election in November.
The marquee race is the 5th Congressional District where McLeod-Skinner has mobilized progressive Democrats to eject Schrader from Congress.
The 5th District has the smallest Democratic majority of registered voters of the six congressional seats. Republicans see an opportunity to flip the seat, sparking a tight Republican primary, also yet to be decided.
The unwieldy ballot in two other races makes an election night victory call difficult.
The new 6th Congressional District seat centered around Salem has drawn 16 candidates.
In the 4th Congressional District that includes Eugene and Corvallis, the decision by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, to retire after his current term set off an eight-way race among Democrats. Skarlatos of Roseburg is the only Republican in the 4th District and goes on to the general election.
In contrast, a U.S. Senate race and the three other U.S. House seats saw incumbents rack up easy wins in their primaries.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, easily won the Democratic primary for the seat he has held since 1996.
"I'm looking forward to running hard through November on a proven record of fighting for Oregonians' interests — and against powerful special interests obsessed only with yanking our state and country backward," Wyden said in an early evening statement.
The question of which Republican will face Wyden was still undecided late Tuesday.
Primary races for three incumbent members of Congress also were over early.
U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton, U.S. Rep Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland, and U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, all won lopsided primary victories. The races to determine their challengers were too close to call late Tuesday.
Democrats have a razor-thin 221-208 majority over Republicans in the U.S. House, with eight vacant seats. All 435 seats are up for election in 2022.
Republicans are betting on history to take back control of the House. The party of the president has lost seats in the first midterm in all but two elections in 100 years.
The Senate is split 50-50, with 35 seats up for election in 2022. Republicans hold 21 of the seats, with Democrats holding 14.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.