Top Oregon Democrats Stick With President Biden as Party Nominee

Most members of Oregon’s Democratic caucus in the U.S. House didn’t respond to WW’s question.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley. (Blake Benard)

In the two weeks since President Joe Biden’s debate performance raised doubts about his fitness to run the country or defeat former President Donald Trump, a growing number of Democratic members of Congress have called for him to exit the race.

But Oregon’s top Democrats are sticking with Biden, at least publicly.

In response to an inquiry from WW, both of Oregon’s U.S. senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, said Monday that they supported Biden remaining at the top of the Democratic Party ticket.

“I’m proud of the results that Democrats and I have delivered with President Biden the last four years here in Oregon and nationwide,” Wyden told WW in a statement today. “Voters in our state and America fired Donald Trump with cause in 2020 and they’re not going to rehire him in 2024.”

Merkley deferred to the president’s judgment.

“It is President Biden’s decision whether he will remain in the 2024 race,” Merkley said in a statement to WW. “He has said that he will. As long as he’s the nominee, I will do everything I can to help him win.”

Three of the four members of Oregon’s Democratic caucus in the U.S. House—Suzanne Bonamici, Val Hoyle and Andrea Salinas—didn’t respond to WW’s question.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer replied with a statement that did not address Biden’s future. “The question should be about if the 37-time convicted felon, Donald Trump, who for half an hour lied on national television and was unable to say if he would accept the election results, will step aside,” Blumenauer said.

Gov. Tina Kotek did, however. She attended by video a July 3 meeting of Democratic governors with Biden, in which the president pledged to stay in the race but admitted he was fatigued and needed to end most days at 8 pm.

She issued a statement shortly after that meeting. “The President was honest in sharing what happened on the debate stage,” Kotek said. “As governor, I’m moving forward and focusing on making sure the bleak future our country would face under a second Trump presidency doesn’t come to pass.”

“My job is to protect Oregonians and ensure a better future for the people of our state,” Kotek added. “For me, that means electing Joe Biden for another term.”

So far, the only Democratic member of Congress in the Portland area to defect in any way from Biden is U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.), a first-term congresswoman representing a Southwest Washington district that includes Vancouver. Unlike the Oregon officials sticking by Biden, Gluesenkamp Perez is in a swing district.

“We all saw what we saw, you can’t undo that,” she told KATU-TV. “The truth is, I think Biden is going to lose to Trump.”

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