Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba said Tuesday that he will run against Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader in next year’s Democratic primary.
“I am afraid that Congressman Schrader is one of those congress people who is somewhat out of touch, in my opinion, with the problems of everyday people,” said Gamba, who criticized Schrader on such issues as health care and combating climate change.
Gamba, 59, is a veteran photographer who has worked for a host of publications including National Geographic.
He was elected to the Milwaukie City Council in 2012 and has been mayor of the 21,000-population city on the southern border of Portland since 2015.
Schrader has represented Oregon’s 5th Congressional District – which includes portions of the Portland metropolitan area, the Willamette Valley and the coast – since first winning election in 2008.
A veterinarian from Canby, Schrader defeated a strong Republican challenger in 2010 and has maintained his hold on the district while working from the political middle.
He supported the Affordable Care Act and has worked with bipartisan groups on efforts to reduce the budget deficit. He has often sided with the timber industry and farm groups in fights with environmentalists.
In recent months, Schrader angered many Democratic Party activists in his district by helping lead unsuccessful efforts in the House Democratic efforts to deny Rep. Nancy Pelosi another term as speaker.
Paul Gage, Schrader’s chief of staff, defended Schrader’s record on climate change and other issues. He noted that the congressman voted for a 2010 bill to cap carbon emissions and for the Obama administration’s clean energy plan.
“We’ve had other people who have tried to make waves in the Democratic primary,” Gage said. “But when they look at Kurt’s overall record they think he fits the district and does a good job for them.”
Gamba last week set up an official campaign committee by filing with the Federal Election Commission. That allows him to begin raising campaign money.
He said he won’t accept money from corporate political action committees.