President Joe Biden makes his first midterm endorsement

President Joe Biden made his first endorsement of the midterm election cycle on Saturday, throwing his support behind the representative. Kurt Schrader (Ore.)a centrist democrat locked in a primary litigation.

“We don’t always agree, but when it mattered most, Kurt was there for me,” Biden said in a statement. “And in doing so, he’s helped push a lot of my agenda into law — which is making a huge difference in the lives of the Oregonians he represents and all of America.”

“Now we have a lot more to do and to achieve that we have to keep a Democratic Congress,” he added. “Kurt Schrader supported me from the start and was instrumental in the progress we’ve made as a nation.”

Biden traveled to Portland, Oregon last Thursday to celebrate the administration’s infrastructure investments. All Democratic members of Congress from Oregon, including Schrader, were present. Biden verified Schrader’s name, saying he had “played a key role in the progress we have made as a nation on jobs, economic growth and clean energy.”

Schrader, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, faces challenge from progressive lawyer Jamie McLeod Skinner in the May 17 primary for Oregon’s 5th congressional district.

McLeod-Skinner, who has tried to portray herself to voters as a better ally for Biden than Schrader was, politely disagreed with Biden’s decision and suggested it was evidence of Schrader’s desperation.

“Schrader’s asking for political favors from National Democrats shows he knows our Oregon workers’ campaign is stronger than ever,” she said in a statement.

Oregon’s 5th remains a Democratic-leaning seat, but the redistricting has made it a slightly less sure bet for the party. Biden won the old district, more centered in suburban and suburban Portland, by about 10 percentage points, but he would have won the new seat, which includes large swathes of rural central and eastern Oregon, by about 9 dots.

Jamie McLeod-Skinner, left, challenges Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), right, on the grounds that he is not a good ally of President Joe Biden.

As a result, the House Democrats’ official campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, played an active role in Schrader’s primary race, saying another Democratic candidate would be more vulnerable in a possible surge year. republican.

But progressives backing McLeod-Skinner were disappointed by Biden’s announcement, arguing it rewards one of the Democratic Party’s least cooperative members and will discourage progressive voters from running in November.

“The mid-terms are a question of enthusiasm. The ruling party has it, and the ruling party doesn’t. tweeted the Working Families Party, which supports McLeod-Skinner. “Democrats can reverse this trend, but to do so they must accept working-class candidates like [McLeod-Skinner]not corporate incumbents undermining their popular agenda.

Leah Greenberg, co-founder of the progressive group Indivisible, which also supports McLeod-Skinner, cast McLeod-Skinner as a real fighter for Biden’s agenda.

“If you want someone who actually sticks to the Democratic agenda, there’s only one choice,” Greenberg said. tweeted.

Schrader has indeed broken with Biden to a degree rare for a Democrat from a district carried by Biden. Schrader voted against the COVID-19 relief bill passed by the House in February 2021, before endorsing the version returned by the Senate. He joined other moderate Democrats in helping to decouple the ambitious Build Back Better legislation from the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which many observers say undermined the former’s chances of success. And taking advantage of Democrats’ narrow margins in the House, Schrader insisted on watering down Biden’s prescription drug negotiation bill as a condition of his support.

In response to Schrader’s actions, McLeod-Skinner drew an unusual level of support for a primary challenger from organized labor and local Democrats, including four county Democratic parties.

Nonetheless, Schrader is the frontrunner, not least because of his large cash advantage in the campaign. Thanks in part to his status as a darling of the pharmaceutical industry, Schrader has spent nearly $2 million defending his seat and enjoyed the independent backing of a Big Pharma-backed super PAC.

Schrader has used his vast funding to portray himself as a champion of lowering prescription drug prices – a move one affordable drug advocate calls “the height of hypocrisy.”


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