PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer has won the open U.S. House seat in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, flipping the district for the GOP in a hard-fought contest that drew millions in outside money to the state.
Chavez-DeRemer’s victory makes her the first Latina congresswoman from Oregon, a distinction also sought by 6th District Democratic candidate Andrew Salinas. That race remained too early to call.
The district was previously held for seven terms by moderate Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader and was targeted by the GOP, which saw the 5th as vulnerable after the long-time incumbent’s primary defeat by progressive candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
The 5th was significantly redrawn following the 2020 U.S. Census to include parts of more conservative central Oregon, and trended slightly less blue this election. Democrats still hold a slight advantage in voter registration, but both campaigns focused on the roughly one-third of unaffiliated voters in the district.
Chavez-DeRemer, a small business owner and former mayor of the Portland suburb of Happy Valley, built her campaign around concerns over homelessness and rising crime in Portland, which neighbors some of the district’s suburban communities.
McLeod-Skinner, an attorney and regional emergency coordinator, previously ran unsuccessfully for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District in 2018. She sought to highlight Chavez-DeRemer’s shifting stance on abortion and painted her as a far-right candidate who was too conservative for the district.
The super PAC linked to House Republicans, the Congressional Leadership Fund, spent more than $2.7 million on several ads in the district, which stretches from Portland’s affluent southern suburbs to the central high desert city of Bend.
Elsewhere in Oregon’s U.S. House races, Democrats maintained control of the 1st, 3rd and 4th Districts, and the GOP kept the sprawling 2nd, which encompasses nearly two-thirds of the state.