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Biden endorses moderate incumbent in Oregon House race

Rep. Kurt Schrader is running for another term in Oregon's 5th Congressional District, which was recently redrawn as part of the redistricting process.
Credit: AP
FILE - Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., speaks during a news conference in Washington, on July 24, 2019. President Joe Biden is endorsing incumbent Schrader ahead of Oregon's primary election. Schrader is a moderate who hasn't always backed all of Biden's agenda. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

SALEM, Ore. — President Joe Biden is endorsing incumbent Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District.

The endorsement was the president’s first this year.

Schrader is a moderate who has voted against some of Biden's priorities in the past, including a money-saving plan to let Medicare negotiate the price it pays for prescription drugs.

“We don’t always agree, but when it has mattered most, Kurt has been there for me,” Biden said in a statement Saturday.

RELATED: Straight Talk: Rep. Kurt Schrader and challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner vie for Oregon's newly-drawn 5th district

A Biden adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations, said to expect to see more endorsements from the president moving forward.

The adviser said Biden evaluates each race and request as it comes in. Biden won’t be endorsing in open primaries, as has been his longstanding position.

Schrader is running against Jamie McLeod-Skinner in the recently redrawn 5th District in the May 17 primary. He’s seeking an eighth term. McLeod-Skinner has the backing of many progressives.

Schrader has faced mounting criticism from progressive Democrats, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

A year ago, he was one of only two members of his party to vote against a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill because, among several reasons, he did not support including an increase to the minimum wage.

RELATED: Rep. Kurt Schrader explains his vote against $1.9T coronavirus relief bill

The county-level Democratic Parties in Deschutes, Marion and Clackamas counties jointly announced on Tuesday that they had endorsed McLeod-Skinner and asked the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to stop campaigning for Schrader during the primary.

Schrader has represented Oregon's 5th District since 2008, but he faces a changed landscape in this year's election. The district's borders were substantially shifted during the redistricting process after the 2020 census.

The district used to include coastal communities and the state capital, Salem, but the new version has expanded to the south and east to include the city of Bend, while losing Salem and all the area to the west of it.

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report from Washington.

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