Candidate Lynn Peterson is in trouble

By William MacKenzie,

Lynn Peterson was primed and ready.

In June 2023, Metro President Lynn Peterson announced she was running in the Democratic primary for the 5th Congressional District seat occupied by Kurt Schrader until replaced by Lori Chavez-Deremer.

“I’ll bring a track record of developing common sense solutions and getting things done to Congress,” Peterson said. “I’m going to fight not only for needed investments in housing, public safety, transportation and education, but also our fundamental rights to vote and seek reproductive health care.”

The race is a top target for Democrats trying to flip the U.S. House, which is now narrowly in Republican hands. The district, which voted for Joe Biden in 2020 and has more registered Democrats than Republicans, stretches from Bend to Portland.

Peterson jumped out of the gate with an endorsement from DeFazio and over 50 endorsements from officeholders and community leaders from throughout the 5th District and the state.

What could go wrong?

Well, money.

In an email blast today, Peterson said, “For the next few months, our fundraising numbers will help set the narrative as we approach the primary and look toward the general election. For many, these numbers serve as a proxy metric for viability.”

According to campaign finance numbers posted today by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Peterson had just $52,834.13 cash on hand as of the end of 2023.

The other four Democratic primary candidates, Janelle Bynum, Kevin Easton, Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Matthew Davie, haven’t filed their campaign finance reports for all of 2023, but Bynum and McLeod-Skinner had healthy balances as of Sept. 30, 2023 (Bynum: $217,842.324; McLeod-Skinner: $154,767.48).

In addition, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gave Bynum a lift when it announced its support for her on January 29, noting that it had put her on its “Red to Blue” list of key candidates running to replace Republican members as part of the Democrats’ strategy to reclaim the House majority.

 The primary winner will take on Republican U.S. Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who won her seat in 2020, defeating Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner 51% – 49%.

Chavez-DeRemer hasn’t filed her end-of-the-year campaign finance report with the FEC, but as of Sept. 30, 2023, she had cash on hand of $1,290,581.19. It’s expected that her aggressive fundraising efforts continued in the fourth quarter of 2023, making her a strong candidate in the race against her eventual Democratic opponent.

Despite the Democratic lead in registrations in the district, the Cook Political Report rates the race as a toss-up.