Republicans appear to have flipped a seat from congressional Democrats in the tightly contested race between Jamie Chavez-DeRemer and her opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
Chavez-DeRemer’s campaign declared victory in U.S. House District 5 in a press release sent just before noon on Friday. She had won nearly 51% of the vote.
“This is a historic victory for Oregon, but the work starts now,” she said. Chavez-DeRemer could be Oregon’s first Latina representative in Congress. Democrat Andrea Salinas, who is running for neighboring District 6, is leading in her race as well.
Before launching her campaign for the restructured Oregon congressional district, which now stretches from the Portland suburbs across Central Oregon to Bend, Chavez-DeRemer was Happy Valley’s mayor. She ran as a centrist alternative to the far more progressive McLeod-Skinner, who handily beat the district’s incumbent, Blue Dog Democrat Kurt Schrader, in the primary.
“I’m a Lori Republican,” Chavez-DeRemer told WW. She promised during her campaign to aggressively address homelessness and crime, while protecting gun rights and cutting taxes.
Her opponent, McLeod-Skinner, ran from the left, promising to address climate change and prescription drug prices. She won an early victory over seven-term incumbent Schrader, but seems to have ultimately fallen short despite Democrats enjoying a voter registration edge in the district.
She has a slim lead in Clackamas and Deschutes counties, but it has so far not been enough to counter Chavez-DeRemer’s strong support in more rural parts of the district.
McLeod-Skinner has still not conceded the race. “We’re going to continue to monitor the process to ensure every vote is counted,” the campaign said in a press release.
UPDATE, 7 pm Sunday, Nov. 13:
After news outlets including the Associated Press called the race for Chavez-DeRemer, McLeod-Skinner issued a statement conceding her loss.
“While there are still votes to count, it appears that the ultimate result will not be the outcome we worked so hard to achieve,” McLeod-Skinner said. “I spoke with Lori to congratulate her and wish her well in representing Oregon’s Fifth District during these challenging times.”