Their campaign totals are similar, but the women running to represent Oregon’s 5th Congressional District are drawing on different strategies to raise money.
Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner has raised some $1.3 million, compared to $1.1 million for Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer. That’s according to this month’s quarterly filings with the Federal Election Commission.
McLeod-Skinner has attracted more than five times as many individual donations as Chavez-DeRemer, who is pulling larger amounts from a much smaller pool of supporters, and self-financing more than a third of her bankroll so far.
The seat is open after Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader lost a primary election to McLeod-Skinner in May. This marked the first time in 42 years Oregonians voted out a sitting member of Congress in a primary contest.
McLeod-Skinner is a Terrebonne attorney and part-time emergency preparedness coordinator for Oregon’s Department of Health and Human Services. In an interview this week, she took aim at Chavez-DeRemer over election misinformation and restrictions on abortion access.
Chavez-DeRemer declined an interview request through her campaign manager, Jihun Han, who answered questions by email.
When asked if Chavez-DeRemer acknowledges that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election, Han said by email this week: “The electoral college voted and Joe Biden is the president. Lori isn’t focused on 2020. She is focused on winning back the house so we can stop Biden’s disastrous policies that have caused record-high inflation and rising crime rates.”
When asked if Chavez-DeRemer would support a federal ban on abortion, Han said no, she “believes in states’ rights.” Oregon has some of the strongest protections in the country and is positioning itself to become a sanctuary for people from other states seeking abortions.
“Lori believes and recognizes that most Americans are in favor of reasonable restrictions which is exceptions of rape, incest, life of the mother, and the first trimester,” Han said.
In May, Chavez-DeRemer won a five-way race for the Republican nomination.
She has loaned her own campaign $411,000. The vast majority of the individual contributions to support her run — 94% — have been at or above $500 each.
“Lori’s most important campaign supporters are small business and working families that are being crushed by inflation,” Han said in an email.
Chavez-DeRemer is a former mayor of Happy Valley, and according to state filings, works as the marketing director for her husband’s anesthesiology practice, and as the business coordinator for Evolve Health, which offers drug therapies for managing chronic illness and mental health.
She received $10,000 from E-PAC, a political action committee led by New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking House Republican and chair of the party’s caucus.
Another $10,000 for Chavez-DeRemer comes from the Value in Electing Women PAC, a national fundraiser backing Republican women candidates. The PAC’s largest donors are Ryan Salame, a cryptocurrency tycoon based in the Bahamas; Tim Ranney, the CEO of a Florida-based credit lending firm; and a super PAC, American Unity.
McLeod-Skinner, who is gay, has received $3,000 directly from LPAC, which funds political campaigns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer women. National advocates from the LGBTQ Victory Fund have championed her, saying that if elected, she “would become the first out LGBTQ person ever elected to Congress from Oregon.”
About a quarter of McLeod Skinner’s individual donations have been $200 or less.
She has received $5,000 from the National Organization for Women PAC, which according to its website, works to elect “more uncompromising feminists to the White House and Congress.” Mcleod-Skinner has also collected $4,000 from the Working Families Party PAC.
“I’m not trying to buy my way into office,” McLeod-Skinner said in an interview. “It’s voters, it’s Oregonians, and it’s working people supporting my campaign.”
In the primary, the Mainstream Democrats PAC spent nearly $200,000 opposing McLeod-Skinner, as the highest ranks of her party — President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — endorsed Schrader’s failed bid.
McLeod-Skinner said that’s water under the bridge.
“There’s a recognition that the stakes are just way too high,” she said. “There were folks who had existing relationships with my primary opponent, and they reached out warmly and were supportive in the general [election].”
All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are on the ballot in November.
Last year, Oregon’s Democratic-controlled redistricting process took metro areas of Central Oregon away from the solidly Republican 2nd Congressional District and placed them in the 5th District, realigning Bend and Redmond with counties west of the Cascades. After Schrader’s loss, the new 5th District is a toss-up, according to the non-partisan Cook Political report.