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Jamie McLeod-Skinner mulls second run for 2nd District

Antonio Sierra

East Oregonian

Published on November 9, 2018 8:32PM

Democratic Congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner talks to people at a Pendleton Farmers Market during her campaign for the 2nd Congressional District of Oregon.

Staff photo by Kathy Aney

Democratic Congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner talks to people at a Pendleton Farmers Market during her campaign for the 2nd Congressional District of Oregon.

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When Jamie McLeod-Skinner made a longshot bid to unseat 10-term incumbent Rep. Greg Walden, she said she always knew it could take two election cycles to get it done.

After holding Walden to his lowest percentage of votes in his congressional career, McLeod-Skinner is considering executing the second half of that equation.

On her campaign’s Facebook page, McLeod-Skinner encouraged her supporters to save their yard signs or banners for “future use.”

“I came to the mic for my concession speech and people were already chanting ‘2020,’” she said in an interview with the East Oregonian on Friday.

The Terrebonne Democrat said she spent the day meeting with her campaign team going over the results and considering next steps, which could include a rematch with Walden or a bid for one of Oregon’s statewide seats.

If she tries to run against the Hood River Republican again, she’ll have some positive signs to work with.

Walden won the 2nd District 56.1-39.1 percent, a spread that doesn’t look that impressive until a look at his electoral career reveals that Walden frequently took home 70 percent of the vote in past re-election campaigns.

As Gov. Kate Brown cruised to a six-point victory statewide, McLeod-Skinner outperformed the incumbent governor in the 2nd District, garnering more votes in 18 of the district’s 19 counties.

And according The Source Weekly in Bend, McLeod-Skinner’s narrow victory in Deschutes County was the first time a Walden opponent has beaten him there since he first ran for Congress in 1998.

Additionally, McLeod-Skinner crushed Walden 63.4-34 percent in Hood River County, his home county, and only lost Jackson County 50.9-44.9 percent.

“I think there’s a real hunger for positivity,” McLeod-Skinner said.

But McLeod-Skinner still lost by a substantial margin in a district with a heavily conservative lean, and Walden was able to keep McLeod-Skinner at bay by winning many of the other counties in the district by a 2- or 3-1 margin.

Despite these challenges, McLeod-Skinner still thinks there’s a path to victory if she runs again.

Over the course of her campaign, McLeod-Skinner said she built campaign infrastructure and a volunteer base that she’ll be able to utilize for a second run.

“You don’t need to win every county, you just need to win more votes,” she said.

After starting off her initial run as a light fundraiser, McLeod-Skinner gained momentum and raised almost $1.1 million, although it paled in comparison to Walden’s $5.1 million haul. She added that people have already approached her about donating to her next campaign.

While she’s leaning toward another political campaign, the exact office she’d run for has yet to be determined.

McLeod-Skinner expressed interest in running statewide, but wouldn’t get specific about which office she would seek.

The statewide offices that are up for re-election in 2020 are the secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, and Jeff Merkley’s U.S. Senate seat. All are filled by incumbent Democrats except for secretary of state, which is held by Republican Dennis Richardson.

McLeod-Skinner said she and her staff are currently focused on taking some time off from the campaign trail while she considers her options. She expects to make a decision by early 2019.

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Reporter Phil Wright contributed to this report. Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.



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