State Watch

White House shrugs off likely defeat of Biden-backed Oregon congressman

Karine Jean-Pierre
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during her first press briefing as press secretary at the White House in Washington, Monday, May 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The White House on Wednesday sought to put a positive spin on the likely primary defeat of one of the only candidates President Biden has endorsed in the midterm election cycle.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters the White House did not view the performance of Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), whom Biden endorsed and who was on track to lose to challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, as a rebuke of the president’s agenda, instead arguing both candidates were supportive of Biden.

“The race in Oregon was focused on just how much each candidate supported the president. That’s what we saw in this particular race,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.

McLeod-Skinner, Jean-Pierre said, “ran on an agenda of President Biden’s priorities, including lowering the price of prescription drugs and tackling climate change and the fossil fuel pledge.”

The press secretary pointed to McLeod-Skinner’s previous praise of Biden’s handling of the situation in Ukraine, and she noted that when Biden endorsed Schrader, McLeod-Skinner prefaced her disagreement by saying she respected Biden’s work to address the pandemic and the economy since taking office.

As of Wednesday afternoon, McLeod-Skinner led with 61 percent of the vote with roughly 53 percent of precincts reporting in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District. Biden backed Schrader last month, marking a rare foray into a Democratic primary race.

Jean-Pierre said the White House is “not at all” concerned about Schrader’s potential defeat signaling larger problems for the president’s sway within the party.

“Because again, both candidates were running on a platform that supported and embraced the president’s agenda,” she said.

Tags Biden Karine Jean-Pierre Kurt Schrader Oregon

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