McLeod-Skinner loses to Walden, but will keep moving forward


Jamie McLeod-Skinner

Though she lost the U.S. Representative District 2 race to incumbent Rep. Greg Walden (R) on Nov. 6, 39.17 percent to Walden’s 56.54 percent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner said that by narrowing the gap in some of the district’s major counties, she proved that it is possible to go up against the 20-year incumbent.

“Obviously, we were working to prevail … but I think what was really important about these results was that this is a winnable race,” she said.

McLeod-Skinner won overwhelmingly in Hood River County — 63.44 percent to Walden’s 33.95 percent — and won by a narrow margin in Deschutes County, 48.75 percent to Walden’s 48.07 percent, but lost the remaining 18 counties in District 2. She gathered a significant percentage of the vote in neighboring Wasco County, 43.05 percent, and Jackson County, 44.88 percent.

“I really appreciate your response in Hood River,” she said. “When I started the campaign, there were a lot of folks who shrugged and said, ‘This isn’t a winnable race.’”

She credited the “army of volunteers” that worked on her campaign and a growing frustration with Walden’s ineffective representation of his constituents.

“We’re holding accountable someone who’s not showing up … so people have really responded to that,” she said.

Though she did not say whether or not she is going to run again in the next election cycle, she said that running against a 20-year incumbent “is a two-cycle race.”

This election was about “building up infrastructure and getting people to believe again,” she said.

“We now have an infrastructure and basis of support where, if we had that in the beginning, we would have won.”

She expects to make a formal decision about her next steps in January, she said.

“There’s always that looking back, reflecting, talking about what else are you going to do,” she said. There are some things she would have done differently, such as her response to Walden’s “cheap shots” and comparing Walden’s words to his track-record.

What is important now, she said, is continuing to hold Walden accountable. “Now it’s a matter of keeping up accountability; working across the political spectrum, reaching across the aisle and building up basics,” she said. “… Whoever’s in office: If you’re not taking care of your constituents, you deserve to be replaced.”

But for right now, McLeod-Skinner is taking some downtime to rest and be with her family, and encourages “everyone to take a well-deserved break” before diving back into the political arena.

“I slept so much in the last week,” she said. “I haven’t slept so many nights in a row in my own bed!”

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