GOP’s Chavez-DeRemer flips Oregon 5th Congressional District
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer has won the open U.S. House seat in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, flipping the district for the GOP in a hard-fought contest that drew millions in outside money to the state.
Chavez-DeRemer’s victory makes her the first Latina congresswoman from Oregon, a distinction also sought by 6th District Democratic candidate Andrea Salinas. That race remained too early to call.
The district was previously held for seven terms by moderate Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader and was targeted by the GOP, which saw the 5th as vulnerable after the long-time incumbent’s primary defeat by progressive candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
McLeod-Skinner conceded the race Sunday, saying in a statement that she had called to congratulate Chavez-DeRemer.
“While there are still votes to count, it appears that the ultimate result will not be the outcome we worked so hard to achieve,” she wrote.
The 5th was significantly redrawn following the 2020 U.S. Census to include parts of more conservative central Oregon, and trended slightly less blue this election. Democrats still hold a slight advantage in voter registration, but both campaigns focused on the roughly one-third of unaffiliated voters in the district.
Chavez-DeRemer, a small business owner and former mayor of the Portland suburb of Happy Valley, built her campaign around concerns over homelessness and rising crime in Portland, which neighbors some of the district’s suburban communities.
McLeod-Skinner, an attorney and regional emergency coordinator, previously ran unsuccessfully for Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District in 2018. She sought to highlight Chavez-DeRemer’s shifting stance on abortion and painted her as a far-right candidate who was too conservative for the district.
The super PAC linked to House Republicans, the Congressional Leadership Fund, spent more than $2.7 million on several ads in the district, which stretches from Portland’s affluent southern suburbs to the central high desert city of Bend.
Elsewhere in Oregon’s U.S. House races, Democrats maintained control of the 1st, 3rd and 4th Districts, and the GOP kept the sprawling 2nd, which encompasses nearly two-thirds of the state.
Republican candidate for Oregon governor Drazan concedes
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Republican candidate for Oregon governor Christine Drazan conceded on Friday that she lost the race to Democrat Tina Kotek.
Drazan said the math shows that, even with ballots remaining to be counted, she cannot win. She pointed out that Kotek has won less than 50% of the vote, with unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson taking a share.
“This is a unique moment in Oregon’s history and an extraordinary opportunity for leadership that recognizes the dynamics of this race that call for moderation and inclusivity moving forward,” Drazan said in a statement. “I have spoken with Tina Kotek and hope for the best for our state as she steps into this role.”
Secretary of State Shemia Fagan said Friday there have been no reports of widespread voter fraud.
Drazan was a leader of the minority Republicans in the Oregon House of Representatives. Kotek was Oregon’s longest-serving House speaker. Johnson was a Democratic senator and quit the party to run as an unaffiliated candidate who got enough voter signatures to get on the ballot.
Gov. Kate Brown could not run again because of term limits. She tweeted congratulations to Kotek on Thursday, calling her “an advocate for working families who will fight to ensure every Oregonian has a chance at a better future.”
Kotek joins Maura Healey of Massachusetts as the first openly lesbian elected governors in the United States.