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Tipsheet

Biden's First 2022 Primary Endorsement Went Down in Flames

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

While it got lost in the hectic news cycles of last week, the first 2022 primary candidate endorsed by President Joe Biden lost his race, according to a call made Wednesday by Decision Desk HQ that came more than one week after Oregon's primary day. Votes were slow to be counted "because tens of thousands of ballots were printed with blurry bar codes, making them unreadable by vote-counting machines," but as of Tuesday morning, more than 95 percent of the votes had been counted with Biden's candidate coming up short.

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Biden's pick in the primary for Oregon's 5th Congressional District — incumbent Democrat Representative Kurt Schrader who is considered a centrist among others in Biden's leftward-lurching party — lost the contest to a leftist challenger, Jamie McLead-Skinner, by a margin of roughly 55 percent to 44 percent as of this week.

President Biden, in his rare primary endorsement of Schrader, talked up the incumbent Democrat's record of supporting the Biden administration's agenda in Congress. "We don't always agree, but when it has mattered most, Kurt has been there for me," Biden's endorsement said. "And in doing so, he has helped to pass much of my agenda into law — making a huge difference in the lives of the Oregonians he represents and all of America," the presidential endorsement added.

Biden's endorsement, which ultimately proved unhelpful to Schrader, is somewhat puzzling given Schrader was part of a centrist contingent of House Democrats who worked to undermine the Build Back Better budget package that Biden and Pelosi were plotting to pair with the infrastructure bill in order to use the reconciliation process. Schrader also opposed Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

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A Biden adviser told CNN that Biden stuck with the incumbent because Schrader "was a very early endorser of President Biden" and "everyone knows" that "Joe Biden takes care of people that have taken care of him."

The leftist victor over Biden's pick, Jamie McLead-Skinner, was endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and will face Republican primary winner Lori Chavez-DeRemer. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) said that Chavez-DeRemer "will turn this seat red in November and help us stop Democrats' reckless agenda that's led to record-high prices, soaring violent crime, and a crisis at our southern border."

The loss for Biden's candidate comes as several other midterm Democrats have shunned the president's presence and avoided appearing with him as his favorability continues to decline. Even Stacey Abrams, the Democrat-endorsed candidate for governor of Georgia, refused to appear with Biden when he visited the Peach State to talk about her signature issue: voting rights. 

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