Blind sled-dog racer who hoped to unseat Greg Walden drops out of race

PORTLAND, Ore. – Rachael Scdoris-Salerno, a legally blind Paralympian and sled-dog racer who hoped to unseat Oregon’s only Republican member of Congress, is dropping out of the race.

Scdoris-Salerno announced in May she was running as a Democrat in Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District. She said at the time she was frustrated that politicians like incumbent Rep. Greg Walden were too beholden to special interests.

But on Tuesday, not even two months since her original announcement, Scdoris-Salerno said she was folding her campaign.

“I’ve been so inspired by all the people who have supported me these last two months but I simply do not have the energy or the resources to pursue this any further,” Scdoris-Salerno said in a short email.

Scdoris-Salerno, who lives in Bend, competed four times in the Iditarod sled-dog race. She currently runs a sled-dog ride business on Mount Bachelor.

It would have taken considerable time and money to unseat Walden, who has been in Congress since 1998 and has close to $1.5 million in his campaign account.

Walden has also become a powerful member of Congress and has strong campaign experience. He chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee and in 2016 helped Republicans maintain their House majority as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District also covers a wide expanse of the state. Candidates have to campaign from Medford in the south, to Hood River in the north, to Ontario along the Idaho border.

Walden’s prominent role in Republican efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act has made him a target for Democrats looking to unseat him.

Two other Democratic candidates – Jamie McLeod-Skinner of Redmond and James Crary of Ashland – have already filed for the primary.

The East Oregonian newspaper reports that Bend resident Chris Van Dyke is also considering entering the race as a Democrat. Van Dyke is a former Marion County district attorney and the son of actor Dick Van Dyke. 

© 2017 KGW-TV


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