President Joe Biden endorses incumbent Kurt Schrader for 5th Congressional district

By April Ehrlich (OPB)
April 23, 2022 11:51 p.m.

Schrader has faced mounting criticism from progressive Democrats over the past few years and faces a challenger from the left in the May 17 primary.

President Joe Biden announced Saturday that he’s endorsing incumbent Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader for Oregon’s 5th Congressional district.

“We don’t always agree, but when it has mattered most, Kurt has been there for me,” Biden wrote in his announcement. “And in doing so, he has helped to pass much of my agenda into law — making a huge difference in the lives of the Oregonians he represents and all of America.”

Kurt Schrader, Democratic primary candidate in Oregon’s 5th congressional district.

Kurt Schrader, Democratic primary candidate in Oregon’s 5th congressional district.

Steve Dipaola / Courtesy of Kurt Schrader

Schrader is running against Jamie McLeod-Skinner in the recently redrawn 5th District in the May 17 primary. He’s seeking an eighth term.

“I appreciate President Biden’s confidence and support for my re-election,” Schrader wrote in a press release. “I look forward to continuing to work with the President on lowering the high cost of prescription drugs, addressing the high cost of housing and childcare, and tackling climate change and the wildfires that have devastated our community.”


Over the past few years, Schrader has faced mounting criticism from progressive Democrats. This cycle, some local Democratic party organizations have backed McLeod-Skinner, going so far as to change their rules to endorse her. County parties don’t normally endorse primary candidates. Even so, Democratic parties in Clackamas, Deschutes, Linn, and Marion counties publicly backed McLeod-Skinner.

Schrader has been one of the House Democratic caucus’ most moderate members.

A year ago, he was one of only two members of his party to vote against a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill because, among several reasons, he did not support including an increase to the minimum wage. He was also part of a coalition of moderate Democrats who pushed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Biden to rethink tying a vote on the huge bipartisan infrastructure bill with the fate of the proposed Build Back Better Act, a package of social service spending and climate change efforts. Before that, he was one of just two Democrats to vote against a bill that would have increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000.

And Schrader drew national scorn when it came out that he’d likened the push to quickly impeach then-President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack to “lynching.” He apologized for the remark and voted to impeach Trump.

McLeod-Skinner ran for Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District in 2018 and lost to Republican Greg Walden. Two years later, she lost the bid for Secretary of State to fellow Democrat Shemia Fagan. She was subsequently hired as the interim city manager of Talent shortly after the small town lost hundreds of homes to the 2020 Almeda Fire.

Oregon’s fifth district currently includes portions of Clackamas, Deschutes, Marion, Polk, Lincoln and Tillamook counties, extending from Portland’s southern suburbs down to Salem and out to the coast.

Ballots for the May 17 primaries will go into the mail next week.