President Joe Biden endorsed U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) on Saturday in his bid for an eighth term in Congress.
Schrader, 70, faces a Democratic primary challenge from his left for a second consecutive election cycle. In 2020, he handily defeated Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba. But this year, the contours of the 5th Congressional District have changed—and challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner has sought to win over the blue voters of Bend with aggressive criticisms of Schrader’s centrist stance, which she says has obstructed Biden’s agenda.
The president doesn’t seem to agree—or at least is more concerned that a progressive Democratic nominee could lose the district, which has the narrowest partisan margin in Oregon, to a Republican.
“We don’t always agree, but when it has mattered most, Kurt has been there for me,” Biden said in a statement released by the Schrader campaign. “And in doing so, he has helped to pass much of my agenda into law—making a huge difference in the lives of the Oregonians he represents and all of America. …Now we have a lot more to do, and to get it done we need to keep a Democratic Congress.”
Biden briefly stopped in Portland last Thursday to tout his infrastructure package, and Schrader was among the members of Oregon’s congressional delegation meeting the president at the airport. Schrader’s remarks on the tarmac highlighted federal spending on Oregon’s interstate highways.
The timing of the endorsement—two days after that meeting and Biden’s fundraiser with Portland’s leading Democratic donors—is noteworthy.