As of 10 p.m. Tuesday night, Republican Lori Chavez-Deremer was ahead of Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner, with 53% of the vote to McLeod-Skinner’s 47%.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon voters in a newly-shaped 5th Congressional District will have to wait to find out who their new U.S. Representative will be as one of the state’s mostly closely-watched races remains too close to call.

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday night, Republican candidate Lori Chavez-Deremer was ahead of Democratic candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner, with 53% of the vote to McLeod-Skinner’s 47%. More than 200,000 votes have come in but a winner has yet to be decided.

The 5th District saw a shakeup last year when Oregon lawmakers conducted redistricting, the result of a 2020 Census that handed the state a new congressional seat due to population growth. The new maps shifted the 5th District boundary from an area encompassing Salem and part of Oregon’s north coast to one extending south of Portland and east to the city of Bend.

During the 2022 primary, longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader, a President Joe Biden-endorsed moderate, fell to challenger McLeod-Skinner. McLeod-Skinner, an attorney and part-time emergency preparedness coordinator, ran a more progressive campaign that criticized Schrader’s opposition to bills that would have increased the federal minimum wage and worked to reduce prescription drug prices.

The primary outcome set McLeod-Skinner on a collision course with Chavez-DeRemer, former mayor of Happy Valley, Ore., in the November general election. Chavez-DeRemer pledged to support local businesses and police and address “the crisis on our southern border.”

Click here to see initial results for the top races in Oregon and Southwest Washington

RELATED: McLeod-Skinner and Chavez-DeRemer make their pitches to 5th District voters

Though Schrader held the 5th District through six terms in Congress, it became clear in the months leading up to November that the race would not be an easy win for McLeod-Skinner — in fact, polling began to show Chavez-DeRemer pulling ahead.

Beyond the individual appeal of the candidates to voters and a shifting political landscape at the national level, the 5th Congressional District of 2022 was quite literally not the same place it had been just a few years earlier. The race involved a sharp and somewhat unpredictable demographic shift.

Chavez-DeRemer and her class of Republican candidates for Congress received a relatively early boost during an August visit from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and sitting Congressman Cliff Bentz, whose district encompasses much of Oregon’s expansive southern, eastern and central regions.

RELATED: US House minority leader backs Oregon GOP congressional candidates in Tigard visit

By comparison, it wasn’t until later in the race that Democratic candidates in Oregon began to see help from visiting party luminaries like President Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders — but most focused their energies on stumping for gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek, not McLeod-Skinner, as polling for the governor’s race likewise showed potential trouble for Democrats.

At the same time, national-level Democratic PACs demonstrated only a tepid interest in funding the race compared to the level of support received by Chavez-DeRemer from Republican organizations.



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