Jamie McLeod-Skinner Holds Early Lead in U.S. House Race Against Incumbent Kurt Schrader

Second time may be a charm for the civil engineer turned politician.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner held an early lead against incumbent Kurt Schrader in the Democratic primary race for the redrawn U.S. House District 5, propelled by her relentless attacks on Schrader as an obstructionist who has stood in the way of progressive priorities like affordable prescription drugs.

McLeod-Skinner also slammed Schrader for calling the second impeachment of Donald Trump a “lynching.” Schrader later apologized for the comment.

With less than half of ballots counted, McLeod-Skinner had 59.5% of the vote and Schrader had 39.8%. Final results may be days away, though, because of a printing error on ballots in Clackamas County and a new law in Oregon that allows voters to turn in ballots postmarked right up to election day.

If her lead holds, it would be a redemption for McLeod-Skinner, who lost a general election matchup to former U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) in 2018. In that race, McLeod-Skinner became the first Democrat to win Deschutes County in 50 years. Now, the most populated parts of Deschutes County are part of the redrawn District 5, giving McLeod-Skinner an advantage.

McLeod-Skinner, 54, also won endorsements from the Democratic establishment, including the county-level parties in Marion, Deschutes and even Clackamas, Schrader’s home county.

Much of McLeod-Skinner’s government work has been on volunteer boards in Central Oregon, including an elected seat on the Jefferson County Education Service District board.