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Schrader boosted by big PAC spending ahead of primary race

Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader’s race in Oregon is one piece of the big-spending national battle between progressives and moderates competing for House seats. In Oregon’s 5th District, like many other places, super PACs and dark money nonprofits have tilted the spending battle significantly in the moderate’s favor.

Schrader and several outside groups have combined to outspend progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner more than 11 to 1 ahead of Tuesday’s primary, since McLeod-Skinner’s campaign touted an internal poll earlier this year suggesting the incumbent was vulnerable.

Mainstream Democrats, a new super PAC funded by Democratic megadonors including Reid Hoffman and Deborah Simon, has gotten involved in Schrader’s primary along with several other progressive-moderate matchups this year. Since entering the race this month, it has dropped more than $455,000 on advertising for Schrader, according to AdImpact.

Schrader has also gotten backing from groups connected to pharmaceutical companies and lobbyists this year, after he was one of three House Democrats to vote down a part of Biden’s agenda that would have lowered prescription drug prices in committee. Center Forward has spent more than $884,000 on advertising in Oregon’s 5th District this year, while dark money group Better Jobs Together added $191,000 to the race.

Combined with Schrader’s $2 million spending through the primary day, his advertising has far exceeded McLeod-Skinner’s, who has dropped $305,000 on TV, with smaller-scale boosts from other groups.

A new ad for Schrader, who has President Joe Biden’s endorsement, has popped up nearly every week, with the most recent airing since May 11. The spots paint McLeod-Skinner as someone who can’t “beat Trump Republicans” while promoting some of Schrader’s previous votes. Reproductive health has come up several times over the past few weeks in his ads as well, with Schrader playing up his Planned Parenthood endorsement in one video.

McLeod-Skinner’s only TV advertisement in the race: a spot bashing Schrader’s backing from corporate PACs and pharmaceutical companies.

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