Democrat Super PAC Announces $10 Million Ad Buy in Oregon, Washington Congressional Districts

Democrats plan to flood the airwaves in competitive Oregon and Southwest Washington districts in a battle for control of the U.S. House.
Democrat Super PAC Announces $10 Million Ad Buy in Oregon, Washington Congressional Districts
Rep. Lori Chavez-Deremer (R-Ore.) arrives for a meeting with House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol Building on Oct. 19, 2023, in Washington. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Scottie Barnes

The House Majority PAC (HMP) has announced it will spend nearly $10 million on broadcast ad time in Oregon as Democrats try to flip the state’s 5th Congressional District and protect Democratic incumbents in two swing districts in Oregon and Washington.

The super PAC, which focuses on electing Democrats to the U.S. House, will spend nearly $9.5 million in Portland and $250,000 in Bend, Oregon, in the 10 weeks before the November general election, the committee announced on April 8 in a press release. It said Portland is the third largest recipient of HMP spending, behind New York City and Los Angeles.

The House Majority PAC says it will place more than $186 million in initial television and digital advertisement reservations across 58 markets for the 2024 election cycle, the release said, adding that these initial reservations are the largest in HMP history.

In 2022, the PAC’s initial ad reservations totaled $101.8 million, according to the release. In 2020, the reservations totaled $51 million.

HMP had $43 million cash on hand at the end of February, according to federal campaign finance records.

“Through these historic television and digital reservations, House Majority PAC has made it clear that we are ready to do whatever it takes to flip the House and elect Hakeem Jeffries the next Speaker of the House,” wrote ​HMP President Mike Smith in the press release.

Battle of the Freshmen

The HMP allocation reflects Oregon and Washington’s growing importance in the battle for control of the U.S. House.

The 5th Congressional District, which spans from Bend to Portland and is represented by freshman Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer, is considered one of the most competitive in the nation.

The district went for candidate Joe Biden by nine points in 2020.

In the May 2022 primaries, President Biden endorsed incumbent Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader, who had held the seat since 2009 but went on to lose the primary to progressive challenger  Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

The Republican Party Super PAC spent $5.3 million to help Ms. Chavez-DeRemer in that race, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent just $1.85 million to boost Ms. McLeod-Skinner, according to federal campaign finance records.

Ms. Chavez-DeRemer prevailed by just 2 percent; Ms. McLeod-Skinner is again competing in the Democratic primary.

The HMP spending announcement comes as Democrats in the district are protesting the national Democratic PAC’s endorsement of Janelle Bynum, a legislator also endorsed by former Oregon Gov. Barbara Roberts, over Ms. McLeod-Skinner in the May Democrat primary without consulting local party officials.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) added Bynum to its coveted Red to Blue list of candidates it is backing to challenge vulnerable incumbent House Republicans. The move got a response from Ms. McLeod-Skinner.

“Whether the DCCC doesn’t trust voters here in Oregon to make the best choice or they are determined to cover up their 2022 election mistake of canceling their investment in OR-05 and helping Chavez-DeRemer win—it’s wrong and undemocratic,” Ms. McLeod-Skinner wrote on X, formerly Twitter, the day the list went out.

“The Democrats’ race-to-the-left primary will leave their nominee broke and unpalatable for general election voters,” Savannah Viar, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), responded in a statement.

Democrats also plan to defend first-term Reps. Andrea Salinas (OR-6) and Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez (WA-3).

Portland TV stations serve both those districts.

Both representatives appear on the NRCC’s list of seats currently held by vulnerable House Democrats that represent prime pick-up opportunities for Republicans. The list includes Democrats in districts that Joe Biden lost in 2020, including Ms. Gluesenkamp-Perez. She also appears on the House Democrat’s list of 29 candidates who are most at risk in 2024.

ActBlue, a PAC and fundraising platform that serves left-leaning and Democratic nonprofits and politicians, describes Ms. Gluesenkamp-Perez as the “most vulnerable House Democrat in the entire country.”

Ms. Salinas is a former legislative aide for the late Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). She served in the Oregon legislature since 2017 and was the minority whip of the House Democratic Caucus before running for the U.S. House in 2022.

Ms. Salinas promised to govern with an “equity and justice lens.”

She ran against Republican businessman Mike Erickson, who self-funded his campaign. Outside groups spent $3.88 million attacking Mr. Erickson, according to nonpartisan watchdog Open Secrets.

The Congressional Leadership Fund made an $800,000 late ad buy, but it was too late to defend him.

Republicans Weigh in

Republican Congressional Leadership Fund President Dan Conston weighed in on the battle for control of the House in 2024.

“We have incredibly strong Republican incumbents in the toughest races, far better recruits, and a political environment that seems to favor Republicans. If the resources are there, we will hold the Majority this fall,” wrote Mr. Conston in an email to The Epoch Times.

“The bill is coming due for extreme Democrats defunding the police, decriminalizing dangerous drugs, and letting homeless camps take over neighborhoods—policies Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, Andrea Salinas, and Jamie McLeod-Skinner aided and abetted,” NRCC spokesperson Ben Petersen told the Epoch Times.

“The torrent of lies and deception DC Democrats plan to unleash doesn’t stand a chance against the lived experience of Oregon and southwest Washington families worried about the border, fentanyl, and public safety crises endangering their families.”

Scottie Barnes writes breaking news and investigative pieces for The Epoch Times from the Pacific Northwest. She has a background in researching the implications of public policy and emerging technologies on areas ranging from homeland security and national defense to forestry and urban planning.
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