Jamie McLeod-Skinner Celebrates Upset of Congressman Kurt Schrader After Long Delay in Ballot Count

UPDATE: After the AP calls the race for the challenger, Schrader concedes.

Sorry, President Biden: Incumbent U.S Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) isn’t going back to Washington.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner celebrated a victory in the Democratic primary for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District on Friday, ending a 10-day limbo caused by a botched ballot count in Clackamas County. Seven-term incumbent Schrader maintained his silence, even after the Associated Press called the race this morning.

Schrader’s apparent loss occurred despite an unusual endorsement from Biden, who said Schrader needed to win in order to hold the seat for Democrats. Schrader was among the most moderate members of the Democratic congressional caucus—and often hit the brakes on his party’s agenda, from regulating prescription drug prices to impeaching President Donald Trump.

McLeod-Skinner, an elected board member of the Jefferson County Education Service District who challenged Schrader from the left, trumpeted a populist victory.

“Oregonians across the newly drawn 5th Congressional District have joined together to make our voices heard and we want our seat at the table,” she said in a statement. “Shirley Chisholm once said, ‘If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.’ Well, we’ve got our folding chairs.”

Schrader’s press secretary told WW that he would provide a statement “soon.”

UPDATE, 6:45 pm: Schrader issued a statement conceding the primary and congratulating his opponent, whom he did not mention by name. He expressed pride in being “a fiscally responsible voice of moderation” for 14 years on Capitol Hill.

“This is who I am and how I have served Oregon for over 25 years in elected office,” he said. “The majority of Democrats have chosen a different direction for now. I do hope that at some point in time, working together as representatives of our respective districts, we find common ground instead of promoting an ideological agenda that can come back into vogue in both the Democrat and Republican parties.”

The result of the primary remained unclear for more than a week, thanks to a glacial ballot count in Clackamas County. The snafu overseen by Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall made it difficult to ascertain who had won. The first returns arrived from Deschutes County, McLeod-Skinner’s base, and Schrader hoped that results in Clackamas County, the largest block of votes in the district, would save him.

They didn’t. McLeod-Skinner will now face former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who won the Republican primary, in November’s general election.

Since McLeod-Skinner’s upset became increasingly apparent last week, several national observers have changed the district’s status from “leans Democratic” to “toss-up.”