2 congressional races draw attention in Oregon primary

FILE - Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., speaks during a news conference in <a class=Washington, July 24, 2019. Schrader is a candidate in Oregon‘s Democratic 5th District primary election on Tuesday. May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)” title=”FILE – Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., speaks during a news conference in Washington, July 24, 2019. Schrader is a candidate in Oregon’s Democratic 5th District primary election on Tuesday. May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)” loading=”lazy”/>

FILE – Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., speaks during a news conference in Washington, July 24, 2019. Schrader is a candidate in Oregon’s Democratic 5th District primary election on Tuesday. May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

PA

Two congressional races grab national attention in Oregon’s primary election on Tuesday, but the state’s anemic turnout from mail-in voting threatens to dampen excitement around one of the hottest Democratic home races. expensive in the country and a tight Democratic contest between a centrist incumbent and a progressive challenger.

The US House 5th and 6th District primaries are taking place in a state that has become a right-wing target after sometimes violent protests in Portland over the killing of George Floyd, a rise in gun crime and an ongoing crisis in homelessness in the city. These issues have given Republicans a megaphone and raised the stakes for Democrats.

Another key race, for Oregon’s 4th congressional district, is wide open for the first time in decades as Democratic U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio retires after 35 years. However, changes to the boundaries of this district should favor the Democrats even more.

In Oregon, unaffiliated and third-party voters together make up the largest group of voters, and they won’t find the congressional primaries on their ballots. As of Monday, only 18% of voters had returned a ballot, but voters have until Tuesday to mark their ballot under a new law.

Money has poured into the Democratic race for a new 6th congressional district seat that includes a relatively unknown political newcomer backed by a cryptocurrency kingpin and a three-term state legislator who, if elected, would become Oregon’s first Hispanic woman in Congress. The race drew a combined total of 16 candidates for the House seat created by the 2020 U.S. Census redistribution.

The nine Democrats competing in the primary have spent more than $18 million combined and attracted more than $13 million in outside money to date, making the race one of the costliest among Democratic primaries globally. nationwide, according to OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan research group that tracks the money. in politics.

Chief among them is Carrick Flynn, who is backed by cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s Political Action Committee. Flynn appears to be in a close race with state Rep. Andrea Salinas, who was endorsed last week by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the “progressive champion” in the district, which is 20% Hispanic.

Seven Republicans are vying for the 6th District seat, including Ron Noble, a moderate who currently sits in the Oregon House.

In the 5th District, seven-term Democratic incumbent Kurt Schrader faces a tough challenge from progressive candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner in a radically redesigned district that leans a little less blue. Election officials have warned that issues with blurry barcodes on some ballots in a suburban Portland county that includes many 5th District voters could delay election results.

The district, which once stretched to the Pacific coast, now extends east to include Bend, where Schrader is less well known. Biden recently endorsed Schrader, a veterinarian and former state lawmaker, but he alienated progressive members of his party during his last term.

He was one of two House Democrats to vote against a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, in part because he didn’t want the bill to include a minimum wage hike. . He also voted in committee against a Biden-backed plan that would have allowed Medicare to negotiate outpatient drug prices with drug companies.

But some primary voters worry that McLeod-Skinner, a lawyer and former city planner, won’t be as competitive in November, especially since issues like crime and homelessness concern even moderate Democrats.

Five Republicans are in the running to qualify for November’s general election in the 5th arrondissement.

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