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Bynum, Jayapal lead in fundraising in competitive congressional primaries


Bynum, Jayapal lead in fundraising in competitive congressional primaries

Apr 16, 2024 | 7:15 pm ET
By Julia Shumway
Bynum, Jayapal lead in fundraising in Oregon congressional primaries
Oregon's congressional candidates filed quarterly campaign finance reports this week. (Getty Images)

State Rep. Janelle Bynum and former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal lead their Democratic opponents in fundraising in their competitive congressional primaries.

Quarterly campaign finance reports filed by the end of day Monday provide a snapshot of candidate’s resources with a little more than a month to go before the May 21 primary and illustrate which races donors are most invested in. As with past reports, vulnerable Republican incumbent Lori Chavez-DeRemer in the 5th Congressional District ended the quarter with the most available cash: She brought in more than $600,000 since Jan. 1 and has almost $1.9 million in her campaign bank account as she fights for reelection in November in a district with more registered Democrats than Republicans. The race has drawn national interest as the two parties fight for control of the House. 

Chavez-DeRemer will face either Bynum or her 2022 opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The two Democrats were virtually tied in fundraising through 2023, but Bynum’s financial support far outpaced McLeod-Skinner’s this year. Since January, Bynum has collected more than $500,000, compared to less than $200,000 for McLeod-Skinner. Bynum has about $560,000 in her bank account, compared to $313,000 for McLeod-Skinner. 

Both Democrats received the majority of their money from individuals, though McLeod-Skinner touts her refusal to accept money from corporate political action committees. 

Bynum’s largest donors of the quarter were political action committees tied to national Democrats. She received $10,000 apiece from the House Majority PAC and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ Jobs, Education and Families First PAC, as well as $5,000 from EMILY’s List, which works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights and endorsed Bynum in January. 

Bynum began airing TV ads last week, reserving $42,000 worth of ad space in the runup to the primary election. Her campaign manager, Blakely Wall, said in a press release that Bynum’s fundraising is proof of her campaign picking up steam. 

“From being endorsed by Governor Tina Kotek, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Treasurer (Tobias) Read and a majority of our House Democratic Congressional Delegation to now doubling her opponent’s Q1 fundraising total, there is no question about who is the stronger candidate to win back this seat,” Wall said. 

McLeod-Skinner’s largest contributions were $3,300, the maximum an individual can give a candidate in the general election. She previously received $2,500 apiece from the LGBTQ Victory Fund and LPAC, which back LGBTQ+ candidates. 

During a debate hosted by the Portland City Club last week, McLeod-Skinner repeatedly mentioned her refusal to accept money from some political action committees. 

“Not taking corporate PAC money matters,” she said. “That means that I am accountable to Oregonians. That’s first and foremost and that’s the bottom line.” 

Whoever wins the Democratic primary will face a formidable opponent in Chavez-DeRemer, who ended the quarter by adding more than $20,000 from Speaker Mike Johnson’s joint fundraising committee. Reelecting Chavez-DeRemer is a top priority for national Republicans, and a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee highlighted Chavez-DeRemer’s fundraising prowess in a statement Tuesday. 

“The outpouring of support for Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer continues with another impressive quarter powered by enthusiasm for her common-sense agenda,” NRCC press secretary Ben Peterson said.  “While extreme liberals Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Janelle Bynum are distracted by their brutal intraparty primary fight, Representative Chavez-DeRemer has built a formidable war chest while Democrats’ eventual nominee will stagger out of the primary broke and toxic with voters.”

Other districts

Rep. Andrea Salinas, a freshman Democrat from the Willamette Valley-based 6th Congressional District, outraised the rest of Oregon’s delegation. She brought in just more than $717,000 and has $1.6 million in her campaign account. 

Salinas’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Cody Reynolds, hasn’t yet filed any campaign finance reports. But he loaned his 2022 campaign $2 million, part of the fortune he made investing in cryptocurrency, and it remains to be seen whether Reynolds will spend heavily in this primary as well.

The Republican frontrunner, 2022 nominee Mike Erickson, loaned his campaign $2.8 million of the total $4 million he raised in 2022. He started this campaign by raising a modest $117,000. Money wars are expected to heat up after the primary in the 6th District, which Salinas won by 2.4 percentage points in 2022.

Jayapal, the sister of Washington Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, easily outraised her main opponents in the Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional District that includes part of Portland and suburbs to the east. It’s the most Democratic district in Oregon, and whoever wins the primary will likely replace retiring U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer. 

Jayapal’s $333,000 first quarter haul includes $5,000 from the Medicare for All PAC, led by her sister, and $5,000 from the Asian American Action Fund. She ended the quarter with more than $400,000 in cash.

Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales came next, raising $264,000 and with $250,000 left in his campaign account. On the eve of the March 31 fundraising deadline, he collected $5,000 from the National Education Association’s political arm, $5,000 from a PAC for airline pilots and $2,500 from the Human Rights Campaign. 

State Rep. Maxine Dexter of Portland, meanwhile, raised about $185,000 and has $226,000 available. A physician, she received $5,000 from the American Academy of Family Physicians PAC, but most of her quarterly fundraising came from contributions from individuals and from legislative colleagues.  

In the 4th District, where Republicans hope to unseat first-term Democratic Rep. Val Hoyle, Hoyle raised more than twice as much as leading Republican candidate Monique DeSpain. Hoyle picked up $312,000 in the first quarter and has a war chest of more than $626,000. DeSpain raised more than $123,000 and has $125,000 in her campaign coffers.