In the regular blue state of Oregon, voters in a purple district near the city of Portland will turn away from long-term Democratic incumbent Peter DeFazio in favor of a young Republican challenge.
Army veteran Alek Skarlatos, 27, gained worldwide fame by stopping an extremist attack on a train bound in Paris in 2015. He is also one of the best recruits of House Republicans this year, DeFazio raised $ 1.2 million and earned him more than $ 900,000 in the most recent quarter.
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“I can’t afford him. We can’t even match him. He saved more money in a quarter than I did in a year in my life,”; DeFazio admitted to supporters in a virtual phone call this week. “But we can outwork him.”
DeFazio, a populist progressive, will be a key player for his party and will be an important figure in infrastructure if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the White House. He has also been instrumental in discussions on the coronavirus stimulus package as a strong advocate for airline relief.
While Politico reported on Friday that the 73-year-old Democrat is expected to hold his seat and retain DeFazio’s advantage with an enormous $ 2.12 million cash in hand, the leadership is reportedly nervous and margin.
DeFazio has a winning history, but Skarlatos marked the first serious opponent to face a House Transportation chair in years.
DeFazio’s supporters say he took the challenge seriously and the Democratic Congress Campaign Committee recognized the race. But Politico said they also recognize that there are additional unexpected variables in the election cycle.
The devastating fires, the loss of college students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the violent protests that became violent in nearby Portland were all part of shaping the career.
In addition, Oregon’s fourth district came just a fraction of a percentage point from supporting President Trump four years ago.
Forecasters have recently shifted the race from the likely Democrat to lean, setting Skarlatos within striking distance.
As a popular GOP candidate who fought for “Dancing with the Stars,” Skarlatos tried to put DeFazio on the defensive. Despite the Democrat’s independent image – breaking Democrats on many issues – Skarlatos has hit legislator support for the Green New Deal.
The former National Guard also accused DeFazio of wanting to risk the police.
“I think people in Oregon see it and are close and personal, unlike many people in the country,” Mike Leavitt, chief consultant for the Skarlatos campaign, told reporters in an interview about the national crisis. talk about police reform. “I think that’s an issue that resonates with them.”
Leavitt later said he believes support for his candidate came from interest in a “new face” and “new ideas.”
In response, Democrats accused Skarlatos of loyal support for President Trump without hesitation and hoped to remove health care protections.
The congressional race is on track to become the most expensive in Oregonian history, with Republicans spending $ 1.5 million on ads and Democrats spreading $ 2.65 million.
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DeFazio is not the only Democratic incumbent to face the difficult prospects of the reshuffle.
House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., is part of a career that took several weeks to count and validate and the 6 terms incumbent House Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel, DN.Y., was eventually defeated by liberal challenge Jamaal Bowman.