Friday update: Republican claims victory in 5th District
Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer claimed victory, but Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner declined to concede, as thousands of ballots remain uncounted for the open U.S. House seat in Oregon's 5th District.
Chavez-DeRemer and McLeod-Skinner issued statements after that race was called by The Oregonian/Oregon Live on Friday morning, Nov. 11. The Associated Press has not called that race, or the contest for Oregon's new 6th District seat, which pits Democrat Andrea Salinas against Republican Mike Erickson, both of Lake Oswego.
The redrawn 5th extends from Clackamas County, where 70% of its voters live, south through rural areas of Marion and Linn counties and then east across the Cascades into part of Deschutes County. The new 6th takes in parts of Clackamas and Washington counties, then south into Yamhill and Polk counties, and the part of Marion County that includes Salem, Keizer and Woodburn.
McLeod-Skinner, who is from Terrebonne, unseated the seven-term Democratic incumbent, Kurt Schrader of Canby, in the May 17 primary.
As of 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, Chavez-DeRemer was leading McLeod-Skinner by about 6,100 votes of just under 300,000 tallied so far, 50.9% to 48.8%. Clackamas County officials said Thursday they estimate between 60,000 and 65,000 ballots remain to be counted, though not all were from the 5th. The county is scheduled to post its next update at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Ballot status was unavailable for other counties.
In the 6th, Salinas led Erickson by about 4,000 votes, 49.6% to 47.9%, of about 240,000 ballots tallied.
McLeod-Skinner said this in a statement:
"There are thousands of ballots still to be counted, including at least 65,000 ballots in Clackamas County alone, along with additional ballots that are contested or challenged. It's still too soon to make any declaration on this race. We're going to continue to monitor the process to ensure every vote is counted."
Counties must complete unofficial final counts by Wednesday, Nov. 16, the day after county elections officials must receive ballots postmarked no later than Election Day. They must certify results by Dec. 5, after they review challenged ballots.
McLeod-Skinner was leading Chavez-DeRemer in the district's two population centers of Clackamas County and Deschutes County, and won almost 3-1 in the sliver of Multnomah County within the district. But Chavez-DeRemer was winning in Marion and Linn counties; redistricting split off Salem, Keizer and Woodburn into the 6th District, leaving the more conservative rural areas of Marion County in the 5th.
If she is elected, Chavez-DeRemer would be the first Latina elected to Congress from Oregon — although Salinas, whose own race has not been called, is in the adjacent 6th District — and would be the first Republican woman elected to Congress from Oregon.
Chavez-DeRemer said this in a statement:
"I am humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support we received throughout this campaign. From the suburbs of Clackamas, down to rural Linn and Marion counties, and over to the Cascades to Central Oregon, one thing was clear to me: Oregonians wanted common-sense solutions to their everyday problems. Families needed a congresswoman to tackle inflation, keep us safe, and focus on what's best for Oregon families.
"As mayor of Happy Valley, I was proud of my bipartisan track record, and it was critical to approach every issue through a nonpartisan lens. That is exactly what I promise to do as your next congresswoman. This is a historic victory for Oregon, but the work starts now. I vow to work for all Oregonians toward a better future for our children. Lastly but most importantly, thank you to my husband, Shawn and my twin daughters, Annie and Emilie for your unconditional support and tremendous love throughout this campaign."
Chavez-DeRemer was mayor of Happy Valley for eight years, from 2011 to 2019, and lost bids for the Oregon House against Democrat Janelle Bynum in 2016 and 2018.
NOTE: Updated at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11.
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