Three Oregon candidates will get more money, aid from national Democratic group

Val Hoyle, Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Andrea Salinas were named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program

By: - June 14, 2022 3:12 pm

Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle, attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner and state Rep. Andrea Salinas were named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” list on Tuesday. (Campaign photos)

Three Democratic women running for Congress in Oregon will get fundraising and organizational help from a national campaign committee that supports Democratic Congress members.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle, state Rep. Andrea Salinas and Central Oregon emergency response coordinator Jamie McLeod-Skinner are among 25 candidates named to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” list. 

Most years, that list consists of Democratic candidates challenging Republican incumbents or running in an open race that previously elected Republicans. But because every state redrew its congressional boundaries after the 2020 census, the list now includes candidates running in new districts or areas that have long been represented by Democrats. 

The committee estimates each candidate must raise at least $5 million before November to win their races. 

“Now more than ever, Oregon families deserve leaders who will fight for them, not far-right extremists,” Johanna Warshaw, spokeswoman for the campaign committee, said in a statement. “This slate of Democratic candidates — Val Hoyle, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and Andrea Salinas — are proven champions for Oregon families and will fight for a strong economy, good-paying jobs, affordable health care, and a woman’s right to choose.”

Courtney Parella, Warshaw’s counterpart at the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the Democratic committee focusing on Oregon’s 4th, 5th and 6th Congressional Districts is a sign that Democrats know they’ll lose the House. President Joe Biden won each of those Oregon districts in 2020, and only the 5th District was considered highly competitive by analysts when maps were drawn last year. 

“Democrats must know how badly their party’s failed agenda will cost them in November if they’re worried about Oregon races that should have easily gone or stayed blue,” she said. 

National political analysts at the Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics classify the 4th and 6th districts as “likely Democratic.” Both moved the 5th District, which stretches from Portland to Bend, to their “toss-up” category after McLeod-Skinner defeated Rep. Kurt Schrader in the Democratic primary. 

McLeod-Skinner won despite an influx of spending from the congressional campaign committee and other national Democratic groups that plastered the district with pro-Schrader ads. She’ll face Lori Chavez-DeRemer, the Republican former mayor of Happy Valley.

Either Chavez-DeRemer or Salinas could become Oregon’s first Latina congresswoman. McLeod-Skinner, who is a lesbian, could also make history as the state’s first out LGBTQ person elected to Congress. 

McLeod-Skinner previously ran for Congress in 2018 in the 2nd Congressional District in eastern Oregon, where she lost to Republican incumbent Greg Walden but performed far better than any Democrat had. She lives in rural Jefferson County, and her campaign’s betting she can win over more conservative rural voters outside of Bend and Portland with her progressive ideas. 

Chavez-DeRemer co-owns an anesthesiology business with her husband. She won a five-way Republican primary and is part of the Republican congressional committee’s “Young Gun” list of candidates to takeDemocratic seats. The committee’s move is expected to bring additional support from national GOP donors. 

The 4th Congressional District, which now includes Eugene and most of the southern and central coast, has been represented by Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio of Springfield for the past 35 years. Hoyle entered the race hours after DeFazio announced his retirement last December, and he soon endorsed her. 

Hoyle cruised to victory in the May Democratic primary, and she’ll face Alek Skarlatos, a former Army National Guardsman. As of late April, the last time federal candidates reported their fundraising and spending to the Federal Election Commission, Skarlatos had raised nearly $2 million and spent more than $1.5 million for his campaign, compared to $782,000 and $504,000 for Hoyle. Skarlatos also is in the Young Gun program.

Salinas, the House redistricting chair, led the process to draw Oregon’s new 6th Congressional District in Salem and Portland suburbs, then won the Democratic primary in the new district. The Lake Oswego Democrat was endorsed by many Oregon Democrats and prevailed despite millions spent by a shadowy crypto billionaire to support another candidate, political newcomer Carrick Flynn. 

She’ll face Mike Erickson, a Lake Oswego businessman and former congressional candidate.

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Julia Shumway
Julia Shumway

Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.