Monday, March 27, 2023

Jamie McLeod-Skinner ousts pharma-friendly Oregon Democrat in primary

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) to a . on the strength of tireless effort to portray as corporate friendly Progressive challengers hinder President Joe Biden’s agenda Jamie McLeod-Skinner Schrader has been ousted in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District Primary.

The McLeod-Skinner victory is a major achievement for progressives who are eager to punish lawmakers who diverge from the mainstream Democratic agenda. It’s also possibly disappointing for Biden, who shredder given His first endorsement of the mid-term election cycle.

That McLeod-Skinner beat Schrader huge cash profit I Also his support from the corporate-backed Super PAC and support from the National Democratic Party makes his victory all the more remarkable.

“The wall read: She’s a populist candidate. She’s good at campaigning. She’s got supporters,” said Christopher McKnight Nichols, an Oregon politics watcher and professor of history at Oregon State University. “But it still There is a shock because it is unusual to lose somewhat to an outsider in a current Democrat primary. [Schrader] There was a lot of money here. ,

“He won it, but he lost it,” he said. “With the power of power, with the money that he had involved, with his long standing ties and connections, he should have won.”

Voting in the primary ended on May 17, but due to thousands of outstanding ballots in a populated county, The Associated Press took more than a week to declare the winner.

McLeod-Skiner, a small business owner and emergency recovery coordinator, now faces the daunting task of defending a Democratic seat in a GOP wave year that House Republicans held planned to contest Even though Schrader won. In November, McLeod-Skinner faces Republican nominee Lori Chavez-DeRemer, the former mayor of Happy Valley, Oregon.

And National Democrats and many election watchers see McLeod-Skinner as a more vulnerable candidate than Schrader, not least because he’s not an incumbent.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of the House Democrats, assigned staff members to assist Schrader in his primary bid. And Dave Wasserman of The Cook Political Report wrote Wednesday that if McLeod-Skinner wins, Cook will downgrade the district’s rating. From “Lean Democrat” to “Tossup.”

The newly recreated district is also a more challenging area for Democrats. Biden won the old district, more concentrated in the suburbs of Portland and by about 10 percentage points, but he would have won the new seat, which includes large areas of rural central and eastern Oregon, by about 9 points.

“She’ll have a fight on her hands, but if I have to bet now, she’ll work it out,” Nichols said. “She’s a really good preacher.”

Schrader’s journey to an unexpected defeat began in early 2021, when, following riots at the US Capitol, he compared the attempt to impeach then-President Donald Trump to “lynchings”, a comment for which he later apologized. Progressive anger toward Schrader arose when he voted against the original version of Biden’s US rescue plan – the COVID-19 economic relief bill – before the Senate approved the package sent back.

Schrader Received Bleeding-Edge Support From Local Democratic Stakeholders For His Stance On Liberal Priorities Like Covid-19 Relief And Drug Price Negotiations.
Schrader received bleeding-edge support from local Democratic stakeholders for his stance on liberal priorities like COVID-19 relief and drug price negotiations.

Tom Williams / Getty Images

Schrader joined other moderate Democrats in helping separate the ambitious Build Back Better legislation from the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which many observers believe reduced the former’s chances of passage. As House Democratic leaders fret over the group’s dissent, Schrader called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “a really terrible person” in a text-message conversation with fellow centrists.

But Schrader’s most fatal error was probably with Big Pharma over an issue where public opinion is against the industry. Taking advantage of the Democrats’ narrow margins in the House, Schrader, who inherited from a former top executive at Pfizer, insisted on reducing Biden’s prescription drug negotiation bill as a prerequisite for his support.

“They didn’t have to do some of these things,” Nichols said. “They didn’t even have to shell out that much money to contribute to the pharmaceutical industry.”

The price of that move with local Democrats made Schrader wary of anything resembling the inter-party oppositionism of Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.).

McLeod-Skinner never gets tired of calling Shredder the “Joe Manchin of the House.” And instead of explicitly running as a leftist, McLeod-Skinner simply said she would be the most true Democrat and partner of Biden.

“You’ve gone so far to the right that running on your left simply means I’m a Democrat,” she told Schrader. debate on tv end of April.

A veteran campaigner for the Working Families Party and a nationally renowned media strategist, McLeod-Skinner combined his criticism of Schrader’s relationship with Big Pharma with the argument that he is more authentically rural than he is.

His first TV commercial featured him driving a tractor over corporations’ checks, as he vowed to refuse money from corporate political action committees.

“Big Pharma can’t buy my vote,” she says on the spot, as her tractor hauls a sizable check, meant to represent payment from drugmakers.

The pitch paid off, partly because McLeod-Skinner already had ties to central Oregon from its 2018 congressional run. That part of the state had previously not been in Schrader’s district, depriving him of some of the normal benefits of an incumbent.

Big Pharma nonetheless came with a sizable infusion of campaign cash for Schrader, funding a Super PAC that spent more than $1 million on his behalf. Mainstream Democrats, a centrist Super PAC group funded by billionaire LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, spent $785,000 to rescue Schrader.

The pharmaceutical industry PAC also contributed more for Schrader than any other House Democrat in this cycle, except one — helping him spend more than $3.4 million to fight McLeod-Skinner, which was funded by his campaign. was at least three times the amount spent.

Schrader used some of the money in a TV commercial to explain his commitment to lowering the cost of drugs, prompting an outcry from an affordable drug advocate.

At the time, whether or not his misleading message resonated with voters, it was probably too late for Schrader, who a month earlier lost the support of key Democratic stakeholders in Oregon’s 5th.

By March, many labor unions, already unhappy with Schrader’s vote against a bill that would make unionizing easier, supported McLeod-Skinner over Schrader. Four of Oregon’s 5th county-level Democratic parties also supported McLeod-Skinner.

“It was bobber in the water for the fact that McLeod-Skinner could really win it,” Nichols said.


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