How Oregon’s Joe Manchin Lost His Primary

Representative Kurt Schrader (D., Ore.) speaks during a news conference in Washington, July 24, 2019.


Photo:

Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press

Oregon’s seven-term Democratic Representative, Kurt Schrader, a member of the waning Blue Dog Coalition, has clearly been ousted by a left-wing challenger, Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The race was not called due to ballot issues in Clackamas County, but Ms. McLeod-Skinner led by 20 points. Until 2019, I lived in Bend, the city that led her to victory, and I see the California exodus making a once-moderate community increasingly intolerant of Democrats, who strayed from left-wing orthodoxy, even slightly.

Republicans outnumbered Democrats in Deschutes County when I moved there in 2014. But since then, Democrats have registered about two voters for each new Republican and now outnumber them. GOP residents. Oregon’s population growth, largely from California and Seattle, made it the sixth congressional district in 2021. In remaking the map of Congress, Democratic lawmakers withdrew most of the County. Deschutes out of the Republican trusted District 2 and moved it into Mr. Schrader’s newly created District 5.

Ms. McLeod-Skinner aptly referred to Mr. Schrader as “Oregon’s Joe Manchin.” She dubiously stated on her campaign homepage that Mr. Schrader was not a support choice because he had said something positive about the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding. for abortion — even though he voted against it. Planned Parenthood gave Mr. Schrader its 100% review and endorsement.

He committed other heresies. Mr Schrader warned colleagues that a second Trump impeachment could be seen as a “lie”, then apologized and voted for it. He voted against Nancy Pelosi for speaker position in 2018 and reportedly said she was “really a lousy person”. He voted against various Democratic spending proposals, including the Build Back Better welfare provisions. During one debate, when his opponent was asked how to tackle inflation, she mocked Mr. Schrader for objecting to a $2,000 stimulus check.

Schrader voted with President Biden 96.4% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight, and won the approval of the president but not some of the county’s Democratic Party officials. Mcleod-Skinner, who lives on a ranch near Bend, outside the congressional district, was fired in 2017 from her job as a city manager for the city of Phoenix, Ore., after four months for allegedly creating “a hostile work environment”. Since then, she has worked for short-term spells as an emergency preparedness coordinator, serving on various boards and running unsuccessfully for Congress in 2018 and for the position of foreign minister in 2020.

However, she won more than 70% of the vote in Deschutes County by most recent tally and will likely face Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a small business woman and former mayor of the Portland suburb of Happy Valley, in what could be a race pairing in November. A key voting block will be the state’s newcomers, who will need to decide if they prefer the progressive politics of the places they’ve left off or something new. In the meantime, give a thought to the “Joe Manchin of Oregon” and all the other conservative Democrats, a coalition that becomes more dangerous with each election cycle.

Seminara is a former diplomat and author of “Mad Travelers: A Tale of Wanderlust, Greed & the Quest to Reach of the Earth.”

Journalism Report: Democrats to the left, Republicans to the right. Image: Getty Images Synthesis: Mark Kelly

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Appears in print May 25, 2022.

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Alley Einstein

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