BEND, OR -- Local sled dog racer Rachael Scdoris-Salerno has reportedly dropped her bid to run for Congress against Greg Walden. KGW-TV reports she sent a short e-mail saying she doesn’t have the energy or resources to pursue a campaign. However two other Democratic candidates have officially filed to run for the District Tow House seat in 2018.
Water systems expert Jamie McLeod-Skinner, of Terrebonne, says she launched her campaign last week to have as much time as possible to reach voters. "It’s arguably early, but it’s a very large district. And so I’ve been out and about all over the district, from north, south, east and west." And, she says she's hearing that Congressman Walden is vulnerable. "Walden has lost touch with his district. And also because the Democratic party will have a couple folks with different perspectives with different things to offer. I can tell you, my philosophy is: Government needs to know when to help out and when to get out of the way." She grew up in Southern Oregon and says her family has deep roots in District Two. McLeod-Skinner tells KBND News, "The three biggest things I’ve heard that people are concerned about are jobs, healthcare and the environment. And, what I really think we need to focus on is, of course, protecting healthcare, but also creating good paying jobs in renewable energy."
Her Democratic opponent, retired attorney Jim Crary, of Ashland, is also trying to take advantage of the lead-time. He ran unopposed in the 2016 Democratic Primary
but lost to Walden in November by a wide margin. He's trying to build on that name recognition, this time around. "I am getting out and talking to as many people, answering their questions, letting them see who I am, let them put a name and a face together; so, there is a huge advantage."
Walden hasn’t had a competitive Democratic opponent in a number of election cycles, but Crary says 2018 will be different. "Look at what the Republicans are trying to do to healthcare. It’s like the House and the Senate have a contest to see who can screw it up the most." He launched his campaign in January and says he's spent months traveling to all corners of the district. "I have had so many people come up to me and say ‘I have never been involved in politics but I am involved now.’ It is such a changed environment from when I ran in 2016."
Several other people are rumored to be considering a run, including Ashland doctor Julian Bell and Chris VanDyke, of Bend.