State Rep. Janelle Bynum announced Wednesday that she would seek the Democratic nomination to face Republican Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer in Oregon’s 5th congressional district, a constituency Chavez-DeRemer narrowly flipped two years later. endorsed Joe Biden 53-44. Bynum, who would be the state’s first black member of Congress, entered the primary with guarantees of Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Andrea Salinas, who respectively represent neighboring districts 1 and 6.
This constituency, which is based on The southern suburbs of Portland and central Oregon will likely be a prime target for Democrats, but Chavez-DeRemer 51-49 win on Jamie McLeod Skinner in 2022 proved he’s not reliably blue turf despite the presidential headlines. According to new calculations from the Daily Kos Elections, Republican Christine Drazan prevailed in this district even as she was losing last year’s close gubernatorial race to Democrat Tina Kotek: Drazan defeated the now governor 47-43with another 9% going to conservative Democrat-turned-independent Betsy Johnson.
Bynum herself has experience taking down her potential opponent, albeit on a smaller scale. The Democrat won her place in the state House in 2016 by beating none other than Chavez-DeRemer 51-49 in an open race, a victory that came as Hillary Clinton carried the same district 51-42. The defeated Republican returned for a rematch two years later, but Bynum defended her 54-46 during that blue wave year. Most recently, Bynum notched a convincing 55-45 victory over Republican challenger Kori Haynes following a costly 2022 campaign.
Bynum has a competitive nomination fight ahead of him before he can focus on what would be his third general election battle with Chavez-DeRemer. Oregon Metropolitan Council President Lynn Peterson launched his own campaign earlier this month, while McLeod Skinner, who would be the state’s first LGBTQ+ member of Congress, has also expressed interest in trying again.